Chefs, restaurateurs and food bloggers are among those backing the nation’s largest community based older people’s charity in their efforts to get older people to think about their diets. Active Retirement Ireland (ARI), a national network of over 570 local older people’s clubs comprising more than 24,500 members, have today (19/06/14) launched a campaign to encourage older people to cook for themselves and to eat balanced meals.
Backed by Bluebird Care, the campaign is fronted by TV chef Gary O’Hanlon, who won the Georgina Campbell Restaurant of the Year award for 2014, and is supported by Garrett Fitzgerald of Brother Hubbard café in Dublin and food blogger Nollaig Bourke of Fascination Food.
Peter Kavanagh of ARI said, “Working with Healthy Ireland and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine over the last few years, we have seen that for many older people, old age can be a time when they pay less attention to what they’re eating.”
The problem can be made worse, said Kavanagh, by personal history. “Many older people would have grown up eating balanced diets without even realising it. Now, in an age when processed food is so readily available, many older people are taking the easy option and their diets are suffering.”
According to the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing, three-quarters of Irish older people are overweight or obese. This is a statistic that worries ARI. “With so many older people overweight or obese, it’s incredibly important that we encourage older people to cook healthy and nutritious meals for themselves,” said Kavanagh, “Above all, we want people to enjoy their food.”