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Tastes to Remember – Filipino Feast enhances the memory

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By MILA CICHELLO

Memory is like the layered onion and different tastes are one way of laying down memory. With this in mind, a unique collaboration between Alzheimer’s Australia VIC (AAV), Centre for Philippine Concerns Australia Inc VIC (CPCA), Pilipino Elderly Association of the South East Region Inc (PEASER), South East Dementia Action Group (SEDAG) and local aged care service providers hosted a seminar on dementia in the City of Kingston on 24 September 2010.

The organising community organisations CPCA, PEASER and AAV invited Filipino seniors living in Kingston to an event called Tastes to Remember, a seminar to raise public awareness about memory changes as people get older. Over 40 people packed the seminar room at Clarinda Community Centre. Julie Nytray, PEASER Co-ordinator, welcomed the participants while Leti Lorenzana, an accredited NAATI Interpreter and also the PEASER Vice- President stayed on hand to assist with Filipino translation if needed. Mrs Ching Chavarria (CPCA) and Norminda Forteza (AAV) spoke about AAV’s Dementia initiatives. The young and good looking Mayor of Kingston, Steve Staicos formally opened the event with a warm welcome to the participants and organisers. Cris Aguilar and Judy Capsis enthralled every one with old Filipino folk songs on the unique marimba angklung (bamboo) instruments, with most of the seniors spontaneously singing verses from their childhood days. Tania Paull from Southern Health and Pauline Lacey from Southern Region Commonwealth Respite & Carelink Centre (CRCC) facilitated the group discussions, using an onion to show how our minds process layers of memory. Dominique Horne from AAV gave a very engaging presentation about memory awareness, normal memory lapse, abnormal memory loss, tips to improve one’s memory and kinds of dementia.

Lunch was a hit with PEASER members presenting the Filipiniana Feast of palabok, adobo, longganisa kutsinta and other dishes! Mayor Staicos quipped that he enjoyed Filipino food so much that became an Honorary PEASER member! Table discussions ranged from nostalgic anklung music from the seniors’ childhood days, Filipino food for special occasions and food to help the memory. Finally, Pauline from CRCC spoke about the importance of carers looking after their health. Participants happily finished the day with show bags full of information on aged care resources in the South Eastern Region.

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