(Australian Associated Press)
Some aged care homes spend as little as $7 a day on food for each resident, a royal commission has been told.
Celebrity chef Maggie Beer says that sort of budget is inadequate to prepare the type of food people in aged care facilities should be eating.
“They would have to use processed food, frozen food, frozen vegetables, fish that is usually frozen and imported, not even Australian,” she told the aged care royal commission’s Cairns hearing on Tuesday.
“It’s just impossible.”
Beer said a reasonable minimum budget would be $10.50 a day per resident, but for $14 “you can do really good food”.
Chef Nicholas Hall said an aged care facility where he worked had a food budget of $7.20 a day per resident.
“It wasn’t great, that’s for sure,” he said of the food.
“You’re having to cut corners. You’re having to use frozen foods, you’re having to use processed foods just to feed the residents.
“At the end of the meal if the resident was still hungry and they wanted more food, there was no more food to give them.”
Beer, the Senior Australian of the Year in 2010, established a foundation five years ago with the aim of improving the food experiences for older Australians, particularly those living in aged care homes.