Improving the Older Adults’ Eating Pleasure: Results of the Aupalesens Project

At the end of 2013, the final conference on Aupalesens project presented the wealth of results from the different partners whose target was the improvement of older adults’ eating pleasure for healthier aging and the fight against malnutrition. In line with OPTIFEL project, this ambitious multidisciplinary project focused on nutritional problems among the elderly will provide a goldmine of relevant data. The Aupalesens project developed tools and strategies to improve both the sensory quality of food offered to seniors (contents of the plate) and the context of meal.

Aupalesens involved 559 people – 31% men and 69% women in four different cities (Dijon, Angers, Brest and Nantes). The people were broken down into four categories: 289 lived at home and did not require any assistance, 74 lived at home and required assistance but not for meals, 101 lived at home and required assistance for meals, and 95 lived in nursing homes.

Among the most striking results, Aupalesens showed that 43% of the 559 people had kept a sense of smell and taste akin to the senses of younger adults and that there was a link between the level of dependence and chemosensory capacities, regardless of age. “Therefore, the decline of these capacities is not due to age but rather to events related to aging,” Virginie Van Wymelbeke remarked. Very interestingly, researchers observed that the presence of two rather than one vegetable on the plate increased meat consumption (32%) and the presence of condiments increased energy intake (7%).

A good diet is not only for meeting nutritional needs, but also offering food to be consumed … with pleasure.


Photo credit: Claire Sumont-Rossé, CGSA