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Filipinos Ageing in a Foreign Land


The Filipinos Ageing in a Foreign Land Program of AFCS held its first virtual Pinoy ‘foodtrip’ event, Tastes to Remember Philippines on 22 September.

The event was hosted by Maina Walkley, FAFL Manager and Norminda Forteza, AFCS Chaplain. We were honoured to have the virtual participation of Philippine Ambassador to Australia, Madam Hellen Dela Vega, Minister for Child Protection, Disability, Ageing and Hon. Luke Donellan, Dr Bong Sanoza, Geriatrician, Dementia Society of the Philippines, Dr Carla Cuadro, Speech -Language Pathologist, Dementia Society of the Philippines and Ms Marie Norman, National Relationships Manager, Dementia Australia. This event signals our campaign to raise awareness and take action to support Filipinos living with dementia. Dementia, characterised by sudden change in behaviour, thinking and memory are not a normal part of ageing.

 The interactive virtual event was informative and engaged with Filipinos living with dementia and their carers to share their life stories as part of the annual Dementia Awareness Month in September. The event created a virtual Pinoy ‘Foodtrip’ experience as a way of reminiscing about positive events and experiences to bring back happy feelings at a time when life is difficult during this pandemic. Tastes to Remember is a table discussion about memory loss and dementia that uses food and culture as a means of remembering special occasions associated with childhood memories, migration, and food for memory.

With the help of our Ipad Librarians and student volunteers, AFCS used digital devices to encourage seniors to participate and enjoy their Pinoy ‘foodtrip’. Our guest Filipino Chefs were able to prepare special authentic Filipino foods such as kare-kare, dinuguan, pandecoco, ube rolls, pandesal at arroz caldo and palabok. Our vaccinated staff and volunteers delivered these to our senior’s homes in a contactless manner in time for the Online Food Trip at no cost to our participants. We were able to eat authentic Filipino food together and reminisce about memories from the past. Our participants were also able to enjoy a short trivia on Filipino food for the chance of winning a delicious box of pandecoco!

 Our AFCS Chairperson, Maria Smith, and Managing Director, Corina Dutlow began the event by introducing our special guest speakers. We were honoured with the virtual participation of Her Excellency, Madam Maria Hellen De La Vega, Philippine Ambassador to Australia. Our partnership with Dementia Society of the Philippines has facilitated participation of specialist medical practitioners on dementia for AFCS over the years. Dr Sanoza, a specialist in Dementia and Geriatrics medicine provided practical tips on living well during the pandemic. Dr Cuadro shared her insights on basic ways to use Filipino concepts surrounding smells, flavours, textures, and language to enhance feeding experience. The Honorable Luke Donnellan favoured us with a pre-recorded message celebrating our reminiscence event. Ms Norman, introduced the new “Ask Annie” application to enhance care of people with Dementia.

 We thank our guest speakers and participants for their contribution, knowledge, and engagement. The event was a great success and created a platform for our Filipino community members to eat, reminisce and stay safe together.