Maggie Beer with students and Match Studio staffThe Maggie Beer Foundation is passionate about bringing the benefits of research to elderly in aged care homes and at home in the wider community. To assist the Foundation, Match Studio held a design thinking workshop in June 2017 to kick-start a range of projects and initiatives which would explore the concept of ‘Maggie Beer Certified Dining’. Furthermore, the workshop brought together researchers, industry and users to explore common questions of what it means to ‘thrive’ and have ‘an appetite for life’, as well as to work toward a framework for assessing the skills of cooks and chefs, and the performance of dining experiences.  

Following the workshop in 2017, research was conducted by Roxane Adams, together with Match Studio Master of Social Work placement students Alexandra Lightbody, Holly Trezise and Jordan Watling. Their findings notified a clear difference in perception of priority between staff and diners/residents as well as an opportunity to utilise their findings to offer a framework for aged care homes to review their dining experiences within a co-design framework.

Essence app on iPadIn 2018, Visual Communication students collaborated with Match Studio, the Maggie Beer Foundation and Life Care to explore the research provided and ‘redesign the dining experience in aged care homes’. From the project, the student team developed ‘Essence’, a toolkit designed to improve the dining experience in aged care homes. Factors such as funding, disruption to residents and ease of use for staff were all regarded. Based upon the seasons, Essence’s small changes throughout the year mark a passing of time and stimulate the brain through new experiences. A theme which reflects the ethos of the Maggie Beer Foundation and their mission to bring fresh seasonal produce to aged care homes.

The project was very well received by all stakeholders, including Maggie Beer herself at the client meeting, for its creativity and practicality. This project is now in the process of being developed further.