By Tania Phillips
An initiative aimed helping older men learn to cook is being piloted at the Buderim Men’s shed with an eye to spreading across the Sunshine Coast and Gympie region.
Initiated by Home Instead Sunshine Coast and Gympie, a care provider helping people stay in their homes as they age, in conjunction with Men’s Shed Australia, the program kicked off at Buderim earlier this month with thirty participants.
Local Home Instead co-owner Falon Glen Fredrickson said they have partnered with The Men’s Shed to launch the free cooking classes mainly aimed at recently widowed shed members who would like to learn new skills in the kitchen. The cooking class is accompanied by expert presentations on dietary advice by local Dieticians.
She said This positive collaboration will also include a regular exercise program which will be coordinated by some of the qualified Home Instead Caregivers, with a focus on breaking stigmas relating to men’s health.
“We basically came up with it because we wanted to start looking for activities to engage people in the community,” Fallon said.
“We do from two hour to 24-hour support in people’s homes, basically delivering tailored support to keep them at home – it is all one-to-one support. The big thing after the horrible year we had last year was thinking about how we could connect people? How do we look at activities that are actually about being healthier, collaborating, supporting each other and having fun as well?”
She said the group initially turned to men’s shed to discuss doing education programs but it grew into more.
“We started with the Buderim Men’s Shed, which is the largest one in Queensland and we talked to them about education and it just morphed from us saying to them what are you guys looking for, what are the gaps of engagement and support that could really help?” Falon explained.
“They started talking about how a lot of the men in this group really do struggle – some are widowed, some are on their own and in those situations something as simple as what to cook for one or how to cook or what are the right things to cook to remain healthy and be mindful of nutritional value.
“It was something that was just a simple and beautiful idea and we thought – Oh my goodness that’s something that we know. We monitor nutritional value for our clients and we have a range of care givers that have very heavy experience in cooking and teaching people to cook from previous careers.
“We thought this was perfect because we do this one-to-one but we could do it in a platform that makes it fun and educational and brings them all together as an activity to try and take the stigma out of it as well.
“One of team members was a chef previously and she used to do cooking classes – teaching how to make a decent meal when you have three items in your cupboard and rice and flour are two them.
“We wanted to start out with simple meals – things that they could cook and eat all together and try things, in the hopes to get people to participate as well.
“We have a dietician coming to the sessions as well, giving guidance in relation to what to do if you are a diabetic – what to avoid and what to substitute – things to avoid if you have certain arthritis. Trying to a little bit of education to something that’s a bit more fun.
These initiatives will likely run month to month with the cooking & dietary class on April 7.