An interesting idea about food based on the use of hi-tech 3D printing aimed at producing mashed-up food in a visually appealing way to encourage older people to eat more.
An EU performance project – which is not exactly an altogether ringing endorsement – reduces foods to a puree so they are easier to eat, but then reconstructs them to look like their original shape in a more edible form.
Certainly, some older people have difficulty swallowing, particularly stroke victims, and for them this might be a welcome idea, particularly if it makes food more appetising.
The problem comes when we assume lots of older people need mashed up food, when their real reason for not eating is altogether different and remains unaddressed.
Loneliness and depression are two significant factors in older people losing their appetite. So are lack of fresh air and exercise, which must be a common sense reason why so many people in residential care homes have little appetite.
Equally, many older people with dementia need encouragement to eat. So too do people with arthritis or strokes who have difficulty holding a knife and fork. These are issues which do not need mashed up food, just a little care and attention and sometimes some personal support.
Hi-tech solutions are all very well, but cannot be a substitute for care and support.