A helping hand via a healthy diet

Members of a catering service deliver food to senior citizens — Photo: R. Ravindran   | Photo Credit: R RAVINDRAN

A group of enterprising self-employed persons are addressing the special diet needs of senior citizens — be it the low sodium and high fibre intake recommended for those with hypertension, or the sugar-free diet for diabetics.

The food delivered from the home kitchens of the caterers are priced on par with fare from a good quality restaurant but is tailor-made to the requirements and has the attention to detail that only home cooks can deliver. The other advantage is that it is not uniformly spicy, unlike food from most hotels.

“I live alone and need a special diet. So, I buy food instead of troubling my son and daughter-in-law living next door,” R. Devaki from Thiruvanmiyur says. Every day, she receives three meals from the caterer next street.

Jehara Begum, who runs a catering service in Santhome, says: “A large part of my clientele comprises senior citizens. Many of them prefer food with very little spice and a lot of vegetables. Millets like r agi and jowar are getting popular.”

Chennai Geriatric Catering Services in Anna Nagar caters only to senior citizens with such needs. Eight women run it on a non-profit basis. U. Vijayalakshmi, one of the women, says: “We got the idea from geriatric physician V.S. Natarajan. Most senior citizens require food that has little oil and spices, so we have decided to cater specifically to their requirements.”

Doctors say the elderly need a balanced diet. Undernourishment is a serious problem, says former head of the geriatrics department at Madras Medical College, B. Krishnaswamy. “A study by the Geriatric Department at MMC a few years ago showed that around 70 per cent of the patients were undernourished. They should eat a lot of fruit and vegetables,” he says.

It is also recommended that senior citizens consult their doctors for a tailor-made diet. “People with hypertension would need to cut down on salt. Those who have diabetes should cut down on sugar and those who have had heart or renal problems should cut down on fluids,” he says.

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Printable version | Feb 25, 2021 5:23:17 PM |

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