Health agency makes recommendations on food for seniors

Soft Texture:
Because healthy eating is important, people with dental, chewing or swallowing problems need advice on appropriate foods, a health agency says

  • Li Yijia/Reporter

The Health Promotion Authority (HPA) said yesterday that about 60 per cent of people aged 65 or over have teething, chewing and swallowing problems, adding that it has worked with hotels, restaurants and community centers to provide instructions for making soft foods, These foods are suitable for the elderly.

HPA Community’s 2017 National Health Interview Survey showed that 70.6% of older adults had missing teeth, 21% thought their teeth (including dentures) were in poor condition, and 63.2% had dental, chewing or swallowing problems, limiting Russell Suying, director of the food hygiene department, said they can eat.

“A healthy diet is crucial to the health of the elderly,” said Wu Zhaojun, director of the Health Bureau.

The HPA published the first edition of the Healthy Eating and Textures Handbook for Seniors in 2019, which includes simple instructions on how to prepare foods with different textures, how to plan meals for healthy eating, and recipes for some recommended meals.

Lo said the HPA has directed more than 100 hotels, restaurants and community centers that have taken classes in learning about food textures and how to cook them.

The establishment’s menus have been vetted by experts to meet the required standards, Luo said, adding that it is hoped that certification will be offered to the facilities to recognize and encourage more facilities to serve such meals.

Wu Weide, CEO of a hotel in Shenkeng District, New Taipei City, said that about a quarter of the hotel’s guests are elderly people. Not only may they chew food, some young children or people wearing braces may also need to eat texture due to swallowing problems.​​ softer foods.

He said the hotel, in cooperation with the health authority, offered a special program that included two soft meals and recently introduced special rice dumplings for the elderly to eat easily during the Dragon Boat Festival.

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