With age, people commonly become less active and experience changes to their metabolism and digestive systems. Along with exercise, meal preparation and eating the right foods are very important for maintaining health, fitness, and proper weight.

Meal Planning and Preparation

For many, meal preparation is fun and easy. The biggest challenge may just be menu planning, and shopping for and finding the right ingredients.

But for others, meal preparation may be a a greater challenge. Lack of interest in cooking, simple laziness, lack of knowledge, insufficient income, loss of a spouse or partner who used to do the cooking, lack of skill or experience, inability to go out and shop for groceries, and a host of other factors can negatively impact meal preparation.

Preparing the right foods requires consideration of the changing bodily needs, planning of menus, and shopping for the needed items. While frozen dinners, take-out food, and meal replacement shakes can serve a purpose in a pinch, these options are not ideal sources of nutrition.


With regard to eating, most people face few or no challenges. They are able to move food from serving container to their plates and bowls, hold utensils, move the food from the plate or bowl to their mouth, and chew and swallow. They can hold a glass or cup, move it to their mouth, drink without spilling, and set the glass or cup back down.

However, this is not the case for all. Persons suffering from arthritis or other debilitating ailments may experience pain or have trouble lifting utensils and cups. Persons recovering from strokes may be unable to move limbs or align utensils or cups properly with the mouth. Persons with teeth, mouth, or throat issues may have difficultly chewing and swallowing the food.

Special utensils, plates, and cups may help. Cutting up food in small pieces or otherwise making it easier to chew and swallow may also help. In certain cases, people will need to be fed.

Home Care Aide Meal Preparation and Eating Assistance

Many home care aides can plan, shop for, and prepare meals. They work with the seniors to evaluate recipes, and often share camaraderie and cooking responsibilities with the seniors. Since many home care aides do not visit every day, they can prepare extra meals in advance while at the senior’s home, that can be refrigerated or frozen for future consumption.

Home care aides can also help with whatever extra preparation is necessary to facilitate eating. They can finely cut or puree food, or can prepare it in such a way to make it softer. The aides can also help with feeding a person or helping the person to feed themself.

Subsidized Delivery Services

Seniors may be able to make use of subsidized prepared meal delivery services that are available in many markets, such as Meals on Wheels. Programs vary slightly by area.

In general, these programs deliver nutritious meals to people who have limited mobility and who may have difficulty providing themselves with adequate nutrition. Pricing for the meals is generally done on a sliding scale, depending on a person’s ability to pay.

Help for Family Caregivers

AARP’s Home Alone Alliancesm has created a “How-To” videos and resource guides for family caregivers on specific tasks. You can find their video for Special Diets by clicking the links below.

This video series seeks to provide family caregivers with an overview of managing care given to seniors. It was developed by Alliance members—the AARP Public Policy Institute and the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC, Davis.

In English

AARP Resource Guides


Reinhard, Susan. Latest How-To Videos for Family Caregivers Provide Guidance on Complex Medical Tasks. . AARP Pubic Policy Institute. 16 Sep 2019. Web. 3 Feb 2020.

Seniors’ Nutrition: Tips and Guidelines for Healthier Eating. GreatSeniorLiving. 3 Feb 2020. Web. 4 Feb 2020.

Sampling of Representative Meal Preparation and Eating Assistance Products

Below is a sampling of products and equipment that are used in providing meal preparation and eating assistance services. Click on the links to find out more information, see other products selections, and if you like, to make a purchase from one of our providers.

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  • SPOT RESISTANT: Spot Resist Stainless finish resists fingerprints and water spots for a cleaner looking kitchen
  • BOOSTED STREAM: Moen's exclusive Power Boost technology offers a faster clean and faster fill with the push of a button
  • RETRACTABLE: Equipped with the Reflex system for smooth operation, easy movement and secure docking of the spray head
  • FLEXIBLE DESIGN: Designed to be installed through 1 or 3 holes; escutcheon included
  • BUILT TO LAST: Backed by Moen’s Limited Lifetime

BUNMO Adaptive Utensils for Elderly/Arthritis/Weak Hand Grip & Handicapped – Convenient Travel Pouch

  • LARGE EASY-GRIP HANDLES: Our light weighted foam grip handles are designed for maximum hold
  • SUPPORTIVE UTENSILS – Specially designed assistive devices. Great as elderly & handicap utensils
  • CONVENIENT FOUR-PIECE SET: Tablespoon, teaspoon, rocker knife and fork. Perfect arthritis aids
  • PREMIUM STAINLESS STEEL: BunMo Adaptive Silverware is made of high quality rustproof stainless steel
  • SHARP KITCHEN KNIFE: Original curved design, sharp and meets the standards of adaptive equipment

EazyHold Silicone Adaptive Aid (12 Years to Adults) for individuals with Limited Hand Mobility, Cerebral Palsy, Stroke. Perfect for occupational therapy or physical therapy use (Lavender – 5 1/4″- 2 P

  • VERSATILE ADAPTIVE AID - Gives individuals independence for Writing, Eating, Grooming, Personal Care (Toothbrush, Hair Brush) , Daily Living and SImple Chores
  • EXTRA SENSORY- Puts the tool in hand or limb and against the skin for better perception of the weight, vibration, temperature and texture of the object
  • COMFORTABLE FIT - Made of soft strechy silicone which warms to skin temperature and does not need to be tight on the hand to support the item.
  • MANY SIZES - EazyHold comes in 8 different sizes to fit infants, toddlers, teens, children and adults hands or limbs.
  • EASY TO CLEAN - Wash with soap and water, the dish washer basket or in an autoclave. Will not degrade with repeated use of hospital disinfectant wipes.

FORIOUS Touch Kitchen Faucets with Pull Down Sprayer, Kitchen Sink Faucet with Pull Out Sprayer, Fingerprint Resistant, Single Hole Deck Mount, Single Handle Copper Kitchen Faucet, Brushed Nickel

  • Assistive Touch Control Technology: A simple touch on the kitchen sink faucet’s spout or body starts and stops the flow of water for a near touchless cleaning design.
  • Pull Out Sprayer: 360 degree swivel sprayer and spout with 2 function head, Single Lever Kitchen Sink Faucets.
  • Smudge and Fingerprint Free: Because washing the mess off your hands shouldn’t involve making a mess of faucet and crafted with a heavy-duty brushed nickel these touch activated kitchen faucets require less cleaning and are easy to keep spot free.
  • Certified Quality and Reliability: A Brushed nickel finish with Uzbekistan Copper construction(Solider and Stronger) , our faucets meet CUPC certifications and rust and corrosion resistance.

Homecraft Queens Angled Cutlery, Right-Handed Angled Spoon, Ergonomic Adaptive Spoon, Cutlery with Easy-to-Grip Handles for Limited or Weak Grasp, Grip Spoon for Independent Eating, Adaptive Utensil

  • Ergonomic angled design makes it easier to eat for individuals with difficult time positioning regular cutlery
  • Features an angled right-handed spoon with a handle that measures 1-1/4" in diameter x 3-5/8"L, helps increase comfort for those with weak or painful grasp
  • Lightweight stainless steel in plastic handle is easy to grip for individuals with limited grasp
  • Ideal for patient care in a home or clinical setting to increase functionality while eating and during self-feeding
  • Institutional dishwasher safe, BPA and phthalates free
Also available, and separately priced, are other utensils:  

LadyLux Café Single-Handle Pull-Down Foot Control Kitchen Faucet with Dual Spray, Chrome

  • GROHE SilkMove for a lifetime of smooth operation
  • GROHE StarLight finish for scratch and tarnish-resistant surfaces for a lifetime of beauty
  • SpeedClean anti-lime system: Removes limescale with a simple wipe of a finger to maintain a like-new performance
  • Foot control: activation of water via contact
  • 14-3/4 in. Faucet height

Maddak SP Ableware Sandstone Partitioned Scoop Dish with Lid

  • Sandstone partitioned dish with three compartments for keeping food separated
  • 1-1/2-inch deep walls for scooping food onto forks and spoons
  • Stackable with clear, plastic cover for transporting and storing food
  • Dishwasher and microwave safe for ease of use
  • Measures 8-1/4” in diameter, with capacities of 6.75 oz. (small sections), and 12.6 oz. (large section)
  • Easy to use
  • Washable
  • 3 partitions in dish
  • Color: red

Ornamin Two Handled Mug with Internal Cone 140 ml BlackBerry with Spouted Lid with Small Opening (Model 815 + 806) | Drinking aid

  • The insulated drinking cup has two ergonomic handles for firm hold even for shaky hands
  • Easy drinking up without help: the mug's internal cone enables drinking even while laying - two handles for firm hold
  • The feeding cup is a practical daily help for the elderly, private and professional care and people living with diseases like stroke, Alzheimer's, dementia, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's, dysphagia
  • The disability cup is made of break-resistant quality plastic, durable, BPA-free, dishwasher safe and microwaveable
  • Sturdy, high-quality plastic in exclusive ORNAMIN quality, made in Germany

ProCure Disposable Nitrile Gloves – 400 Count, Large – Powder Free, Rubber Latex Free, Medical Exam Grade, Non Sterile, Ambidextrous – Soft with Textured Tips – Cool Blue

  • BEST PREMIUM GRADE GLOVES: Get high quality disposable gloves designed for professional use to keep your hands protected. With enhanced strength and tear resistance they offer unmatched reliability.
  • NO LATEX, NO POWDER - NO PROBLEMS: Avoid potential allergies and discomfort with our gloves – without the use of latex or powder, your body will be kept in optimal safety from potential allergens.
  • TEXTURED FINGERTIPS: When procedures get messy, holding on to equipment can be difficult – these food safe gloves come with textured fingertips providing maximum gripping power for wet and dry objects.
  • MEDICAL, FOOD & HOME USE: These exam gloves can be used in many settings, medical & dental offices, scientific labs & warehouses, restaurants & food prep, home cleaning, beauty salons & many more!
  • HOME OR BULK SUPPLY: Choose from boxes of 200, 400 or a case pack of 2,000 gloves. They come in sizes from extra small through extra large, and are ambidextrous and super soft for the ultimate comfort.

Providence Spillproof Scoop Plate – 9″ White

  • Ergonomic plate design meant to assist individuals in guiding food onto utensils with the helped of curved wall
  • Features a vertical wall that helps guides food onto utensils
  • Lightweight, polypropylene 9 inch durable utensil
  • Ideal eating solution for individuals who need help eating independently without the help of a caregiver, such as the elderly, handicapped, and disabled
  • Top rack dishwasher safe, microwaveable, non latex plate

Reusable Stainless Steel Drinking Straws, 20 Pcs 4 Size – 6.3” 7.1” 8.5” 10.5”, BPA Free Long Short Smoothie Drinking Curved Bent Straws with 2 Brushes and Carry Bag, Fit for 10/20/30 oz Tumblers

  • HEALTHY AND SAFE MATERIAL: The BGMAX smoothie straws made of food-grade 18/8 stainless steel,FDA- approved,food-grade, BPA free, no metallic or chemical taste, much safer than plastic and glass straws, reusable and environmentally friendly.
  • ECO-FRIENDLY & EASY TO CLEAN: dishwasher safe. 2 pieces cleaning brushes to wash the whole reusable straws, Dry up with a cloth and Preservation. BGMAX drinking straws are reusable and durable, rather than disposed of after one use.
  • 20 PCS, 4 SIZE: Length: 6.3'', 7.1'', 8.5'', 10.5'' Outer Diameter: 1/4 inch/ 6 mm (BGMAX reusable drinking straws)
  • WIDELY USE: Add fun to any party, trendy for family reunion, outdoor picnics, hiking, trips and office use, girl's night out,cocktail party,Patio BBQ,picnics,boating and more! Great for hot chocolate, smoothies, apple cider vinegar, fruit juice, milk, sodas coffee, tea, kefir, water and any fizzy drinks.
  • 5. WORRY-FREE WARRANTY: Your Satisfaction is our Highest Priority, contact us firstly if you have any question. BGMAX offers Lifetime Warranty and 30-Days for refund or replacement

Sammons Preston Clip-On Food Guard for Plates, Reusable Spill Prevention Eating Aid Assistant for Scooping Food, Lightweight Assistive Plate Guard for Disabled, Elderly, and Handicapped

  • Simple and easy to use clip guard great for someone that only has use of one hand, helps to push the food onto the utensil
  • Food guard prevents food from accidentally being pushed off the plate while eating, ideal solution for those with children or elderly individuals who need assistance or have trouble eating
  • 1-1/4" guard with slightly curved design snaps onto any 9"-10" plate using three hooks, and helps scoop food onto a fork or spoon, making it easier to eat independently
  • High quality, sturdy build guard snaps on to plate and allows it to contain food on the plate, perfect for toddlers, children, seniors, elderly, and disabled
  • Dishwasher safe guard made with lightweight white plastic with light gray specs, BPA, Phthalates, and non-latex

Single Handle Commercial Pull-Down Sprayer Kitchen Faucet with Dual Action in Chrome

  • 360-degree high arc pull-down head with adjustable spray or aerated flow
  • Solid brass construction with drip free high pressure ceramic cartridge
  • 2-inch wide spout extends up to 30-inches
  • Spout detaches separately for easy cleani

Special Supplies Independence 2-Handle Plastic Mug with 2 Style Lids, Lightweight Drinking Cup with Easy-to-Grasp Handles for Hot and Cold Beverages, Spill-Resistant Adult Sippy Cup (1)

  • Independence 2-Handle Clear Mugs - Cup Includes 2 style lids.
  • Crystal clear construction allows the contents to be seen at all times.
  • Use with warm or cold liquid - Dishwasher and Microwave safe.
  • Great adaptive mug for children and adults
  • Made in the U.S.A. BPA/Phthalate/Latex-Fre

Vaunn Medical Adjustable Tilt Overbed Bedside Table with Wheels for Hospital and Home Use

  • HOSPITAL OR HOME USE - Top selling tilt overbed bedside table recommended by doctors for hospital or home use.
  • LONG LASTING AND SAFE - Powder coated heavy-gauge steel construction and swivel casters with locking mechanism.
  • FLEXIBLE POSITIONS - Tilt-top allows infinite positions in either direction for added comfort and flexibity.
  • DUAL TILT - Two-part overbed bedside table that tilts by adjusting the control knob. Stationary small section is ideal for placing beverages/food/glasses and small electronic devices.
  • HEIGHT ADJUSTABLE -Simply and easy to use height adjustment feature - Table top can be raised between 29 - 41 inches for increased maneuverability.