COVID-19 restrictions may have resulted in the temporary suspension of much loved group activities at Centacare’s Belmont community centre late last month but that hasn’t stopped the service supporting hundreds of its most vulnerable aged care clients.
In a matter of days, Centacare Service Delivery Manager Marina Ene transformed the community hub into a kitchen of commercial-like proportions, which now turns out almost 200 freshly-cooked meals each day.
This new way of supporting clients sees qualified cook, Theresa starting her day at 7am, peeling and chopping ingredients. Theresa usually works at the centre two days per week, but has stepped up to five days. Marina’s team of support workers usually host clients at the centre and accompany them on outings in the community. Now they are busy packing and delivering meals, hot from the oven, to the homes of clients.
“I saw the need and went for it,” said Marina. “Many of our clients are frail and physically unable to queue at supermarkets. Some of them are frightened to leave their homes. I thought about my own elderly parents and the one thing I would want them to have is a good, hot meal. It hasn’t been easy, some days it’s been a real battle, but I see the demand and I know it’s a job worth doing.”
The team has almost hit 800 meals, growing from four meals on the first day to 192 seafood lunches, which were delivered to clients on Good Friday. Support workers deliver the following week’s menu along with the meals, and clients can choose to have lunch, dinner or both meals delivered. The menus are created to ensure clients receive all the nutrition and variety they require.
Carina resident, Pam, has attended Centacare’s Belmont community centre for 11 years. She loves the activities, bus trips and occasional ferry ride and has missed the social interaction over the past few weeks. “I’d rather not stay at home, but there’s no point in grumbling about it,” said Pam. “You don’t want to get sick. It’s a godsend having these meals delivered and it’s lovely to see a friendly face.”
Centacare services for aged care clients are funded through the Commonwealth Home Support Program and Home Care Packages. Centacare is continuing to support clients living in their own homes with a range of services including phone check-ins, in-home services and even assistance with home maintenance. To find out more call 1300 236 822.