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Feast Together: Easy-making cuisines for older adults to enjoy

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Published by: Health Promotion Administration
Date of publication: October 13, 2021

        Eating is indispensable to daily life. In our busy life, how long has it passed since the last time we dine with our senior family members? As the Double Ninth Festival is near, the table time spent with family and friends is believed to be able to increase seniors’ sense of happiness.

        Statistics show that Taiwan will become a super-aged society in 2025, where the elderly population aged 65 years or older reaches 20% or more of the total population Note 1. Studies have indicated that the prevalence of tooth loss among older adults aged 65 years or older was 98.6%; the number of teeth lost was 13.39 Note 2. Because older adults may be troubled by dental and oral problems in eating, they may experience malnutrition.

        Health Promotion Administration (HPA) Director General Chao-Chun Wu stated that HPA integrates community-based care centers for dining together and domestic cafeteria operators to provide older adults with better nutrient intake. Consultation is offered to meal preparation personnel, and the concept of texture-modified diet is applied to develop meals that are suitable for older adults, easy to chew, and moderately softened through methods such as ingredient selection, cutting and cooking techniques, and easy testing methods. The aim is to help older adults have healthier diet options to avoid malnutrition.

Moderately softened meals to enrich older adults’ palate
        Following the implementation of various measures, such as vaccination against COVID-19, mask wearing, washing hands frequently, and social distancing, the pandemic is gradually controlled, and community-based care centers can be open to the public. For example, Taipei City Housanpi Culture Development Association hosted Dongxin 91 Health Happy Gathering, in which the meal preparation personnel Pingguohua expressed that she felt deeply touched and benefited much from her more than 2 years of volunteer experience at the care center. At first, she only thought of preparing abundant meals; now, she hopes to see that the older adults may eat and enjoy the moderately softened meals and their smiles out of satisfaction. Thus, she is more dedicated to contribute to diets of older adults. At the community-based care center, she often uses local ingredients and add delicate ideas in meal design. For example, Baozhong tea flavored Fu Rong tofu is so popular among the older adults that it becomes the signature dish of the center. The older adults joyfully said, “we look forward to coming to the center. It feels so good that we can have delicate and eatable dishes made by some warm-hearted people and chat happily with friends.”

Easy cooking: Happy and tasteful

        We can also easily cook restaurant dishes by ourselves. HPA integrates restaurants and dishes provided for older adults at community-based care centers to create a series of videos titled “online dishes for seniors.” Ms. Amy (Mei-chun Chang), a web celebrity famous for her cooking, demonstrated how to prepare diced chicken with melon. She soaked deboned chicken in fresh pineapple juice to soften the chicken and then combined melon in the dish. The sour sweet tastes may excite older adults’ palate and enhance their appetite. The edible size is convenient for older adults to eat one dice after another. In a few minutes, the dish providing both visual and tasteful enjoyments can be prepared. 

        Through the food preparation techniques of texture modification, HPA desires to help older adults enjoy eatable foods. Moreover, through the hands-on process with their family members in preparing dishes, these older adults can strengthen the relationships with their families and create the wonderful time of dining together. 

Note 1: Data source: National Development Council “Estimation of the Population of the Republic of China (from 2020 to 2070)”, August, 2020.

Note 2: Data source: “National Health Survey Results of 2017 by Health Promotion Administration.”
Press data inquiry: Community Health Division Head Su-ying Lo; contact phone number: 02-25220750; 0988-595568 

Press contact person: Surveillance, Research and Health Education Division senior technical specialist Yung-chih, Yeh; contact phone number: 02-2522-0585; 0972-725705

[Health Education Manual of Nutritious Diet Textures for Older Adults]