“I always think in terms of food, it is one of the last things that people who are dying can take pleasure from…they should be able to eat what they want to eat, its about giving them a sense of control”.

Maggie Beer spoke at the Australian National Palliative Care Conference about her passion for food, cooking and improving the lives of people in residential aged care.

Through her Maggie Beer Foundation she is involved in running 2-3 day workshops for groups of up to 30 cooks and chefs at a time, each of whom is involved in food preparation for aged care facilities.

The aim of the workshop is to bring a new appreciation for the artistic and relational experience of eating, and therefore impact of cooking on the lives of residents.

“…the cooks and chefs, who are often regarded as the lowest of the low in many places…what we do is give them respect and kudos and we don’t just talk about cooking but about gardens and music…we give workshops to encourage knowledge and skills that will help them improve the lives of people in aged care”.

By extension an appreciation of the experience of residents helps cooks and chefs to add to the end of life experience of residents.

“Just because someone is dying doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be living until the end of their life…we need to encourage the elders (of their families) to carry out the wishes of the person who is dying so that the rituals of death are a celebration of life”.

Pic: Maggie Beer at the Australian National Palliative Care Conference 2017 in Adelaide