Cooking & Food: Challenges for Living at Home? (Cincinnati)

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from: Longevity Explorers | Cincinnati

Discussion Summary

Bayley LE Meeting, October, 2019

This is a 2nd discussion surrounding the general topic of Cooking and Food and the Challenges of Aging.  The Sequoias SF, SF Village Explorers explored this at length last year; our Cincinnati group broached the same topics about a year later.  Both are interesting and educational discussions!

The general topic areas discussed around Cooking and Food were:

  • How they plan meals and the issues involved, including shopping
  • Producing the meal - home meal preparation, via delivery, or restaurant
  • Eating - alone or with others? What are the challenges?  Benefits? 
  • Cleaning up - How they do it? Dislikes or annoyances?

Most Explorers don’t cook as much as they used to, since their household size has shrunk.  Many find it very hard to cook/plan meals for just one person.   Oftentimes they need to cut recipes in half (or less), which can be tricky in some cases.  They usually have leftovers, and some are avid users of their freezers.  Others just don’t cook as much as they used to.

Some other ‘non-cooking’ options mentioned include Krogers in-store frozen pre-made foods that is self-serve with cooking instructions (and is pretty good), Lean Cuisine frozen dinners, eating out more often

One Explorer has perfected homemade ‘TV dinners’.  She has always loved to cook and has lived alone for a long time.  She claims that she cooks now as well as she did 30 years ago (she is in her 80s now).  When she cooks, she usually makes enough tor 2 or 3 meals and then freezes them, using Glad dinner plates for the homemade TV dinners.  She claims that these are nourishing meals, complete dinners, and that you are taking good care of yourself.  She has done this ‘system’ for years. 

Some points mentioned with regard to freezing food: You can’t freeze some things such as cottage cheese or salad.  Bread, however, freezes well.  One Explorer, on the other hand, have successfully froze milk, to the surprise of many.  Another Explorer shares that she uses dry or powdered milk as a substitute for real milk in recipes, and it works well.

With regard to meal delivery or eating out, none of our Explorers reported having had food delivered.  Some feel delivery would be expensive.  Some enjoy shopping because it gets them out of the house; gives them something to do.  A lot of times, restaurant food is too highly seasoned.

In terms of dining alone or with others, one Explorer feels that she eats too fast when she eats alone.  She finds dining to be more enjoyable when she eats with someone else, and they end up eating more slowly.

Another question explored was 'what would we tell companies like Kroger and deliver companies about ways to improve food, cooking, and eating for older adults?’  Some of the suggestions included: Smaller packages of food, drone delivery of food, and discounts given to customers for shopping online.  However, some Explorers feel like grocery stores are unlikely to cater to older adults’ wishes and needs regarding food and shopping because they are more millennial oriented.


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Key words: 
Cooking, food, meal preparation, eating