The Hong Kong Council of Social Service
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Elderly suffering swallowing difficulty enjoy

Elderly Service – HKCSS Channel      2017/05/18

As elderly age, their swallowing ability and their teeth would deteriorate. If what they eat is not suitable for them, it is possible that the food may accidentally get into their lungs and cause pneumonia. Furthermore, elderly may even suffer malnutrition if they are unwilling to eat. To ensure elderly getting sufficient nutrition, St. James' Settlement newly developed "Graceful Meal" for elderly in five different meats and three different vegetables. Just one meat and one vegetable with rice or congee per meal, elderly can safely enjoy food and take in the nutrients they need. 

Ms Joyce Kwan, Dietitian, Continuing Care, St. James' Settlement said that the pureed meals have to be arranged for elderly who have lost their chewing function, so that they need not chew when they eat. To help swallowing, the food should not be overly liquid but thick. This form of food would be safer and elderly would be less likely to choke on them.

"The enjoyment of food is important for Chinese people. When an elderly suffers swallowing difficulty, he or she will lose interest in food and cannot enjoy eating anymore. We therefore researched and developed "Graceful Meal". With "Graceful Meal", even if an elderly is having swallowing problems or cannot chew ordinary food, he or she can still enjoy the original flavours of food and a better quality of life." Ms Jenny Choi, Continuing Care Senior Manager of St. James' Settlement said.

"Innovative. I think the meals are delicious. They are provided in different flavours, beef, carrot, etc. The carrots I cooked, or if they are not served with soup, are tasteless, but these “Graceful Meals" eat just like real meat and vegetables. I also like the different colours they have.” Mr Yim said and he tried the "Graceful Meal".

St. James' Settlement is planning to launch "Graceful Meal" onto the market to serve the need of elderly in the community with swallowing difficulty. On the one hand, elderly can conveniently enjoy affordable and nutritious meals as smooth as mousse, while on the other hand, carers’ burden over cooked food preparation can also be eased.

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