There has been so much activity with the Foundation these last months as we were given the responsibility by the Federal Department of Health to put together the first ever Congress in Australia. Involving all the people in Aged Care in the one room to come together understanding the complexities of each part of the arena of food, nutrition and the dining experience in aged care and come up with a collective view of what will make the biggest impact to the health and quality of life for those in Aged Care. This took months and months of work by my Chairman, Peter Kenny, who led the 20-person working group to pre-empt what was most important to discuss in the way of the Agenda of the Congress. Peter did the most amazing job of steering this group, who gave their time over such a long period to have the best possible outcomes on the day. Lynn James, our CEO, worked tirelessly to assist Peter to make this happen and I know all on my Board particularly want to thank both them.
It will come as no surprise that I was advocating on behalf of the cook and chef and the need for specialised training/education and support from Management that we know can make such a difference, and there was so much to learn from each other within every segment of the discussion. There were presenters and speakers on panels from Australia and overseas and such a sharing of knowledge that I really believe every person attending physically in Sydney and virtually elsewhere (because of COVID) are aligned in the belief we not only can but must do better. This can’t happen overnight unfortunately, and it can’t happen without a huge amount of support and understanding from all parties but I certainly came away from the Congress absolutely sure we can together bring about the change that is needed. We all know there are great examples of organisations and individuals doing amazing things and we need to celebrate them and find the way that everyone in Aged Care has this possibility of a good life. I didn’t really get the chance to thank every presenter myself as many of them were remote, however I am still in the glow of the generosity of the sharing of knowledge, ideas, and the understanding of each other’s complexities.
I do hope that whatever part of Aged Care you are in that you too are hopeful and wanting to be part of change. I know there are still COVID restrictions that are applying in Homes and this is an added burden for everyone so hope that with vaccinations on the way, life will get easier.