Hospital Foodie

Hospital Foodie is a nutrition application that can be used in hospitals to accurately monitor patients’ food and nutrient intake. It was created to help overcome the shortcomings of current nutrition provision for the elderly in hospitals.

It works by;

1. Screening patients on admission to hospital to identify any nutritional deficits and calculate their daily requirements.

hospital foodie

2. Accurately monitoring food and nutrient intake-at the event of a shortfall hospital staff will be alerted.

3. Individual preferences are taken into account. For example; rather than providing everyone with three meals per day there is the option to have smaller ‘mini meals’ provided at a time that suits the patients and their treatment.

4. A follow up nutritional report is created to help the patient maintain optimum nutrition and improve their recovery following discharge from hospital.

For more information see; is hoped that hospital foodie will help drive a higher standard of nutrition both within hospital and after hospital admission improving the health and wellbeing of elderly patients.

The Big Lunch

The Big Lunch aims to get as many people as possible across the whole of the UK to have lunch with their neighbours once a year in a simple act of community, friendship and fun. In 2013 the Big Lunch date is Sunday 2 June.

Since starting in 2009 with the backing of the Eden Project, thousands of Big Lunches have taken place in all types of community across the UK. In 2012 8.5million people took part. Big Lunch has had a particular impact connecting older people to their neighbours.

Baking with friends

Uk onlineBaking with Friends is a new idea to pair older people who are alone or who experience loneliness but have a love for baking with younger people who want to learn to bake things from scratch.

In return, the younger people who are keen to try volunteering – some, for the first time – will inspire older people about the transforming effect of technology and the internet. Through sharing, meeting (and eating!) the project aims to reduce isolation in older people and bridge both the generational and digital divides.

The project is the brainchild of UK Online who run more than 3800 community-based UK Online Centres around the country helping people get started with computers and the internet. It is backed by Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) via the Skills Funding Agency (SFA).

For more information:


odeLogoode is a fragrance-release system designed to stimulate appetite amongst people with dementia.
The mains-powered unit can be programmed to release food fragrances three times a day around the time of the user’s mealtimes. Fragrances are released in short sharp bursts, acting as a strong appetite trigger and then dissipating rapidly so users won’t become accustomed to the effect. The scents, developed with a leading fragrance lab, can be chosen by user’s on installation.
ode-productThis discreet system is less stigmatising and more inspiring than an alarm or constant reminders from carers to eat. Initial research suggests it can stimulate real hunger subliminally. Scents are pleasant and evocative, and aim to improve mood as an additional effect.
ode is currently being prototyped.
For more information see:


casseroleLogoCasserole is a new social enterprise that brings people together through the simple act of sharing a meal. The service enables people to share extra portions of home-cooked food with others in their area who may not always be able to cook for themselves. Sharing food strengthens local relationships, reconnects people in their neighbourhood, and tackles social isolation and loneliness among older/less physically mobile people.

Casserole makes it easier for people to give: it’s as easy as making an extra portion while cooking a meal. The service completely rethinks traditional meals services – using the web to make it easier to be involved in informal community care, and using food as a social currency to help build new friendships. It’s already helping connect older people with neighbours they wouldn’t otherwise meet.

Run by FutureGov, a social innovation and technology company that works with local government to develop better services, the first pilot began in Reigate and Banstead in Surrey at the beginning of 2012, with funding from the Technology Strategy Board and Design Council’s Independence Matters programme. The team is now partnering with Tower Hamlets Council to establish a second pilot, improving the site technology and developing a sustainable, scalable model that can be implemented throughout the UK.

For further information see:

Meals with Mates

MealswithMatesLogo90,000 South Australians eat and live alone. Research tells us that eating alone is not only an isolating experience which increases feelings of loneliness, it also leads to poor eating habits which reduces older people’s nutritional intake and weakens immune systems.

In 2011 The Australian Centre for Social Innovation (TACSI) began prototyping Meals with Mates, a series of gatherings of like-minded older people over good food, to try and counteract this trend. Each gathering is unique – it might be based on a fondness for a certain type of food, a TV show or a shared experience, and it may be hosted in an older person’s home or a local pub or restaurant – but all build social connections and avoid older people eating alone. Local conveners (volunteers) find new hosts, and connect older people with similar interests to form new gatherings.

Meals with Mates is one of six prototypes based on co-design principles, and launched by TACSI to deliver ‘great living’ in South Australia.

For more information see:

NANA cafe

NanaLogoNANA is a comfort food and community cafe run by older ladies from the local area. For older ladies it’s a chance to get out the house, meet new people, and put a lifetime worth of skills to good use, and for everyone else it’s a place to enjoy proper hearty home cooked food at a reasonable price.

Retirement is great for some, but others miss the sense of purpose, achievement and social interaction that comes through work, and would like to continue to be active, and make new local connections.  NANAs (older ladies in the local area) volunteer at least five hours of their time a week to make and serve food in a local café, or teach small groups in the afternoons.  After three months of commitment, they become part of the NANA partnership. This means a percentage of the profits are shared between them every four months. Some people are using this to supplement their pensions, others are going to give it to charity.

The first NANA café opened in The Elderfield Pub (normally closed during the day) in Clapton, East London, in November 2012. Six NANAs are cooking at the cafe, supported by others running sessions, serving and volunteering to support  recruitment and  communications.

Plans for the future include recruiting more NANAs, developing a franchise model to roll out more NANA cafes, and perhaps even developing NANA branded merchandise like tea-towels and jam!

For more information: ,