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Masterclass Champion – Aaron Dempsey, Moran Aged Care

28 October, 2020

Aaron attended one of our Masterclasses and recently shared details of this fun activity he undertook with his residents.

Helping residents live life to the best of their ability is the mantra at Moran Aged Care. When the team at Moran Kellyville presented in house Chef Aaron Dempsey with the challenge of creating a fun experience for residents, he knew exactly what he would do with the group who are also living with dementia. As many of the participants were of Italian origin Aaron decided to call on their memories and cultural background with a hands-on pasta making session.

Said Aaron, “The making of homemade pasta is a satisfyingly precise ritual, which is steeped in old family traditions and culture. My goal was to help residents reminisce and connect through the physical activity of creating food. During our session many residents recalled memories of gathering around the kitchen to prepare food for their families.” There are multiple benefits of an activity like making pasta including:

  • Improving Dexterity – by putting your hands in the dough, feeling it with your fingers, kneading it, making it nice and thin and giving it shape a very tactile experience is created, improving dexterity and hand muscle strength.
  • Enhancing Independence – By improving our fine motor skills we enhance independence. Stronger hand muscles help to prolong the use of cutlery, hold cups, glasses even brushing teeth.
  • Sensory Stimulation – Feeling and working the dough is satisfying and stimulates sensations surrounding joints and muscles which brings awareness of the body.
  • Connecting – Food is an important part of culture and acts as an expression of cultural identity for many. By sharing and experiencing pasta making individuals who sometimes find it hard to connect or engage found a common bond and joy through this activity.
  • Reminiscence – typically a person living with dementia is more able to recall things from many years ago rather than recent memories. An activity which draws on cultural, sensory and physical stimulation is the perfect way to create reminiscence.

General Manager, Nelly Banag said – “What a great way to spend time together reliving memories and putting lifelong skills to use.”

Engagement in a meaningful activity such as food preparation is important for aged care residents, especially those living with dementia. This was such a wonderfully rewarding experience for everyone who participated and is evidence that no matter what your role is in an aged care facility, you can help make memorable moments and help residents to live every day to the best of their ability.

The homemade pasta making experience was also enjoyed throughout the home with Aaron and his team serving homemade tagliatelle for lunch with a fresh napolitana sauce made with tomatoes and basil from our gardens and parmesan cheese.

Moran Kellyville has two communities created specially to help residents living with a diagnosis of dementia. The Cottage and Homestead communities have a warm homelike feeling – they feel friendly and the pace is calm and relaxed. They provide the right environment to enable residents to continue with meaningful activities they are familiar with and enjoy, whether it be cooking, making the beds or hanging out washing.

Developed by Moran Aged Care, based on research and best practice, our Discovery Program in the Cottage and Homestead focuses on each resident as an individual and recognises that their journey is different and unique from anyone else. By understanding our residents’ routines, likes and needs we help them to feel like they are understood, are useful and that they matter.