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[2018/07/18] A Special Final: Home-Made Cuisine for Senior Citizens

“The meal you want to cook for a senior citizen” is the theme of the Food and Culture class.


June 19 marks the final exam week at National Yang-Ming University, and one of the class final examinations is “the meal you want to cook for a senior citizen”. These students, who have a medical background, personally designed and cooked multi-course meals that they think best suited a senior citizen. By combining their medical and nutritional knowledge, which they had gathered in lectures and applying this knowledge to the culinary field, they had an opportunity for them to understand what a meal for an older person needs to be.


At the start of this year, the percentage of Taiwan’s population aged 65 and above older who form the country's senior citizens exceeded 14% and this marked the beginning of the hyper-aged society. At NYMU, not only does the school have an Aging and Health Research Center, but, in addition, every department also offers class or classes designed around medicine and aging. The aim is to make NYMU into a healthcare for the aged training base, and to help prepare for the future society that will be Taiwan. The culinary task in the final examination is one of the Education Center for Humanities and Social Sciences electives and it is entitled “Food and Culture: from History to Modern Day Life Care”.


Around 30 students from Faculty of Medicine, Faculty of Biotechnology, Faculty of Nursing and Faculty of Biomedical Engineering took part in this elective course. To complete the final examination, each student was required to fully understand the physical condition of the senior citizens, as well as certain of their needs after dining. Once understood, they then personally designed and cooked the most suitable meal course for the senior citizen. By understanding of their individual needs, designing the meal, buying the ingredients, and cooking the meal, in addition to a final teacher and student cross-assessment, the students were able to become more immersed in the course.



  Students incorporating medical knowledge into their personal cooking to craft the best suited meal for senior citizens


The teacher running this class, Assistant Professor Huang Kuei-Ying, remarked, “this final exam theme is cuisine for the aged, and thus there is more emphasis placed on the design of the meal so that it is made more suitable, nutritious, and delicious and therefore ideal for the targeted older person.” Moreover, professional researchers into cuisine for the aged were invited to take part in the assessment of the meals made by the students. At National Yang-Ming University, the majority of the students attending the University come from a medical background, and most of them will become medical personnel in the future. Since food is the basis of a healthy life, this course was created in the hope that it would offer a chance for these future medical staff to leave the traditional classroom and textbook environment and allow them apply their basic knowledge by truly experiencing what these senior citizens need in their everyday meals; such an experience can only benefit them in their future professions.



  The Food and Culture class also caught the interest of a Swaziland student who took part in the class. Picture on the left is the Swaziland style cuisine for the aged.


To cope with the future and our aging society, NYMU currently offers 25 courses relating to the medicine of aging in the Faculty of Nursing, the Faculty of Physical Therapy and Assistive Technology, the Center for General Education, the Education Center for Humanities and Social Sciences, the Institute of Neuroscience, the Department and Institute of Pharmacology, the Department of Dentistry (Masters level) and the Institute of Community Health Care.