Barry Whitehead is living proof it’s never too late to learn to cook.
He’s learning that taking responsibility for cooking the family meals doesn’t have to be as daunting as it seems, thanks to a new program aimed at male carers.
The Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District has teamed up with Carunya Dementia Day Therapy Centre to give seniors cooking skills to allow them to prepare healthy meals.
‘‘It’s often women who take responsibility for cooking family meals, so when they become unwell it can be difficult for men to get accustomed to the kitchen,’’ ISLHD Care Program co-ordinator Gabi Martinez said yesterday.
‘‘Our cooking group is designed to teach men who are carers some basic culinary skills,’’ she said.
‘‘This will hopefully give them healthy meal ideas, simple tips for cooking on a budget and how to enjoy healthy home-cooked food without fuss. It’s also about giving male carers the confidence to try new things and connect with others who care for a loved one.’’
Statistics show that many older men in our community now care for a loved one; 22 per cent of male carers are over 65 while 26 per cent of men in the 75-79 age group identify as carers.
Nutrition Australia volunteers and dietetics students from the University of Wollongong will be involved in planning healthy recipes and cooking demonstrations, which will be held over five weeks at the Carunya Dementia Day Therapy Centre in Warilla.
‘‘The course is also gives carers the rare opportunity for a well-deserved break. A trained dementia nurse will be on hand at Carunya to care for loved ones whilst the men are cooking up a storm in the kitchen,’’ Ms Martinez said.
The free course starts on Monday from 3.30pm. For more information, contact the Centre 4297 1011.