The project GoIndependent brings Swedish and Japanese scientists together to develop energy rich and nutritious food which is succulent, pleasant and safe to chew swallow, as well as food that retains the oral functions. This is combined with exercise programs and sensor technology to give independence for seniors.
In Sweden over 20% are over 65 years.
In Japan this figure is already 30%.
Age related frailty is a serious threat to independent living and social participation of senior citizens. A main cause is lack of proper food intake, i.e. sufficient energy as well as nutrients, generally referred to as “anorexia of aging” as well as lack of exercise. This leads to malnutrition which in turn leads to weight loss, frailty and finally to nursing homes, hospitalization, disabilities or even death.
It is estimated that the care costs for malnutrition in Sweden alone are 9 billion SEK/year. Problems with impaired senses of taste and smell, difficulties swallowing as well as sociological factors, lack of exercise and depression are among the contributing factors. A further contributing factor, especially in Japan, is poor oral functions.
Experts in Food and Materials Science cooperates with aroma and sensory experts from Research Institutes of Sweden to form a Swedish team together with Findus Special Foods, Natural Machines, Animato, and Helsingborg Municipality to develop new foods. Exercise programs are developed by Region Skåne together with the Swedish Judo Federation and Dalarna University.
The Japanese team consists of Tokyo Medical and Dental University and Matsumoto Dental University who are dental experts specialized in swallowing disorders, and the food company Food Care together with gerontologists from Tokyo University and sensor experts from University of Tsukuba and Plimes.