When residents enter the upstairs dining room at Ridgeview in Albion Parkthey can now choose to have their meals brought to their table or go up to the buffet and choose their meals themselves.

Buffet breakfast began at the Home in September and has been wildly successful among residents who love having more choice over what goes on their plates.

It’s been so popular that the Home now provides a buffet lunch as well, and may extend it to dinner in the future.

Facility Manager Michelle Murphy said residents had been asking for buffet breakfast for awhile so it had always been in their plans.

“We spoke with Aly the head chef in the kitchen, and she was very motivated and excited, and the catering staff all got on board and helped put together a plan,” she said.

Volunteer and Pastoral Care Coordinator Michelle Chate helped with the decorating and tracking down the right equipment.

“They have a hot breakfast, and their favourite food is crumpets – every day we run out of crumpets,” Facility Manager Michelle said.

“It’s about giving them a choice and encouraging them to eat a variety of food.”

The buffets have resulted in residents eating better than they were previously, and less waste, Michelle said.

“When we previously served them their meal on a plate we found there was a lot of waste because there were things people didn’t want to eat,” she said.

“Now they can choose exactly what they want and theportions they want, and they are assisting the other residents who are less mobile to enjoy the breakfast experience.”

Having the food out in the open in the dining room also meant the delicious smell filters down the corridors and gets the residents excited about meal times, Michelle said.

“At day three of the buffet I walked into the dining room and the first things that hit me was the smell,” she said.

“Residents are dressing up, having their hair done and wearing perfume. They feel like they’re on a cruise.

“The residents are happy and they’re having great food. They pick and choose what they want to eat, so it’s very consumer directed,” she said.

Physiotherapy assistants are on hand to help the residents who want to come up and serve themselves, and the staff have found the new sense of independence is translating into other areas of the residents’ lives.

“It’s helping them maintain their capabilities. Skills they had previously lost, such as serving themselves and preparing what they want on their plate, they are actually getting back,” Michelle said.

“It’s making a huge difference because they are so much more independent and are enjoying the experience.

“They are becoming more independent during the day, and taking walks around the corridors when previously some of them wouldn’t, and have become more involved in activities,” she said.