Championing age-friendly dining experiences
3 May 2021

Championing age-friendly dining experiences

What does an age-friendly meaningful eating out experience look like?

That is the question explored by not-for-profit ACH Group with the Dining Co. Project—a new program recently trialled at City of Onkaparinga eateries, Becks Bakehouse and Jimmy Deane’s.

The Dining Co. Project works with local businesses to co-design age-friendly dining experiences that are inviting, welcoming, inclusive, accessible to all, supporting older residents to remain socially connected and engaged with their community.

The project, supported by Office for Ageing Well, SA Health, aims to increase the capacity of local dining businesses to respond to the needs of older people in their neighbourhood.

City of Onkaparinga was the first council area to test the project (in March and April), with the results to inform its rollout in other areas across Adelaide.

The two participating businesses—Becks Bakehouse in Port Noarlunga and Jimmy Deane’s Bar, Bistro & Entertainment Centre at South Adelaide Football Club, Noarlunga—were provided coaching and support to champion age-friendly customer service.

The businesses are also distributing a survey about customer experience and social connectedness to customers aged 65 and over.

Steps venues can take to become more age friendly include:

  • providing all-ages friendly food and drinks offerings
  • ensuring people of all ages feel welcome and at ease
  • dementia awareness and education for staff and management
  • quieter and more comfortable seating options
  • special deals and offerings; and
  • social initiatives that promote community connections.

Dr Edoardo Rosso, ACH Group’s Product Co-Design Manager, said the project challenges the inherent ageism that too often affects the ability of older people to interact with the community in a stereotype-free way.

“Living in an area with great places to eat out, which care about and understand older people, and are inclusive, supportive and flexible, may be an important aspect of remaining socially connected and engaged,” Dr Rosso said.

Although the project has not been fully evaluated yet, ACH says the preliminary results are very positive, with the eateries able to provide age-friendly dining experiences.

The project has now finished but staff at these venues are still very happy to speak to you about age-friendly dining.

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