Pancakes to chocolate crackles – nothing off the table for Calvary residents

When Patricia Dixon from Calvary Mitcham Aged Care Home found out other homes regularly had pancakes on the menu, she was none too pleased about missing out and let it be known.

The first order of business for recently appointed Calvary Aged Care South Australia Regional Services Manager, David Purdue, was to create the Calvary Resident Representative Committee meeting to hear directly from residents.

Representatives from the seven Calvary aged care homes in Adelaide come together monthly for the meeting and enjoy a meal afterwards, and that is where Ms Dixon got her intel.

About the Calvary Resident Representative Committee

“We have Bonnie, the best chef at Calvary Mitcham, and she is extremely willing to experiment with dishes suggested by residents. When I learnt pancakes were often on offer at some of the other homes I took that information back to her and now we also have pancakes regularly, which everyone is really enjoying,” Ms Dixon said.

an elderly resident and chef

Mr Purdue quickly got to work adopting all seven recommendations of the first Calvary Resident Representative Committee meeting.

“It has been a really valuable exercise, and residents and staff love it. We have made lots of changes;– everything from making sure we have a uniform approach to food service across the homes, to making the change from margarine to butter,” Mr Purdue said.

Residents are loving sharing their favourite things about their own Calvary home with other committee members.

“I told the other residents about how sometimes for morning tea we have chocolate crackles, honey joys and scones with jam and cream. We have a lot of nice things at Oaklands that bring back good memories,” Barbara Loach said.

“I lived next door to a man who was receiving palliative care in the home at Calvary Brighton. The staff would come up to him before every meal and ask him what he would like, and Chef Emmer would go off and cook it for him. It was just such wonderful care in his last days,” Maureen Russell said.

What is next?

While the first meeting focused on menus, attention has since turned to events and activities.

“Some of the big ideas to come from the committee are to hold a combined ball and possibly even a Calvary Aged Care Olympics, so we’re looking at both those options now,” Mr Purdue said.

Encouragingly, each meeting residents share more ideas, reporting back to the committee about what  neighbours from their facility would like to see or sharing what they enjoy most. Meeting new people and even making some new friends has also been a highlight for committee members.

“I’ve really enjoyed meeting the residents from the other homes and hearing their ideas about what we could do differently at Homestead,” Chris Williams said.

“I’ve really loved talking and meeting new people and finding out about their interests. The meals we enjoy at Flora McDonald following the meeting were also a highlight,” Felicity Kennedy from Calvary Trevu said.

“Meeting residents from the other homes has shown me that Calvary’s ethos is present across all of the homes,” Calvary Brighton’s Maureen added.