“Coaching the taste and smell” of older people can have positive effects on nutrition and on their health. This is one of the preliminary results of the project “Gymsen (Sensory gymnastics for elderly) carried out under the EU programme Erasmus+. According to expert estimations, about 90% of people over 80 have changes in appetite, associated with a different perception of flavours and smells.
COFACE Families Europe’s member “Anziani e non solo” is the Italian partner of this project. They realised that over the years, the sense of smell and taste of elderly people evolves, and for that reason the risk of malnutrition is higher, hence the importance of stimulating the sensory capabilities, which allow identification of food – says Licia Boccaletti, from the cooperative “Anziani e non solo”. The work concentrated on four kinds of food: orange, tomato, chocolate and parmesan cheese, associated with the basic tastes: sweet, bitter, sour, salty, umami. The foods were smelled, then tasted, and finally manipulated, for example, preparing orange marmalade or planting tomatoes.
Read more about this innovative project (in Italian).