At Bethanie West Perth Living Well Centre, staff noticed that on certain days approximately half of their customers were of Italian origin, so they decided to embrace this. Two days per week, up to 14 clients join Bethanie staff to make delicious homemade pasta accompanied by Italian music, usually opera, which always breaks into a sing-along.
The favourite dishes are spaghetti meatballs, using a special family recipe passed down from one of the customer’s mothers, and traditional lasagna both tasty, nutritious and loved by everyone. Often, they also create fresh Italian desserts such as tiramisu and cannoli. Then to finish, staff and clients join in on Italian board games.
On Tuesday 19th November, Bethanie welcomed Maurizio Di Ciano, one of Australia’s most successful Italian restauranteurs, to join clients for one of their weekly cooking sessions. Chef and Owner of ‘No Menu Finest Italian 448’ in Highgate, Maurizio led the kitchen in making traditional pasta dishes from around Italy, giving the clients a chance to join him in the kitchen and share his passion for traditional Italian cooking.
When asked to join the seniors at Bethanie West Perth Living Well Centre, Maurizio, well known locally and a strong believer in family, jumped at the chance, “My love for cooking started as a young boy, watching my mother create delicate pastas and mouth-watering sauces. Cooking alongside Bethanie clients will take me back to my childhood, it was an opportunity I just couldn’t pass up!”
The entire activity programme at the Bethanie West Perth Living Well Centre is written in Italian to support the client’s understanding of what is on offer and has been thoroughly embraced, even by the non-Italian community who attend.
Bethanie West Perth Living Well Centre Coordinator, Michelle Edmonds says, “There is a real need for people to feel connected; social isolation is a well-established risk factor and trigger for depression and anxiety, and where possible we want to avoid that.
“We are constantly trying to find ways to combat social isolation and embracing Italian culture has been a wonderful and positive experience for all our clients at the centre. They were all very excited to meet Maurizio and taste his food and loved conversing with him in their mother tongue.”
Bethanie Living Well Centres, located across the state from Bunbury to Geraldton, engage with local communities to provide a valued social and therapy well-being service, enabling people to remain at home as they age with a focus on quality of life. They offer transport options as well as meals and refreshments and welcome people over the age of 55 from all backgrounds and cultures, also offering programs for people living with dementia.
Find out more about Bethanie.