Good nutrition helps to maintain positive physical and mental wellbeing.

As we age, physiological changes make us more vulnerable to malnutrition. Effects of ageing include metabolism decreases, the absorption of nutrients becoming less effective and our immune system getting weaker which can increase risk of illness and can impact appetite. These effects of ageing make older people particularly vulnerable to malnutrition.

Good nutrition and its benefits

  • Good nutrition can prevent malnutrition.
  • It supports our bodies to function.
  • It reduces the risk of chronic disease.
  • It can improve mental wellbeing.
  • Good nutrition can reduce the risk of disability.

Nutrition programmes

Different Age Concerns run a range of nutrition programmes to keep older people happy and healthy. Three of our more common nutrition programmes run by Age Concerns are; Eat well Live Well; Senior Chef; and Just Cook 4 Healthy Ageing.

Eat Well Live Well nutrition workshops

Its objections are to:
  • Enable older men and women to access improved knowledge of meal planning, shopping and basic cooking methods to provide a healthy diet for themselves
  • Provide opportunities for older men to gain confidence with a “Hands on” cooking experience
  • Facilitate opportunities for older people living alone to share meals in a supportive social environment
  • Share information on new technologies which can facilitate the process of preparing nourishing meals.

These workshops are run by Age Concern Hamilton.

Senior Chef Cooking Classes for Older Adults

Senior Chef is a free eight-week cooking course for people aged 60 and over (55 for Māori and Pasifika kaumātua) who want to improve their cooking skills, confidence, or motivation around cooking for one or two people.
Each session is three hours long, and run once a week, usually starting at 10am. There are usually twelve people in a class.
Each weekly class includes:

  • Nutrition education, for example, eating well for older people, menu planning, budgeting, shopping tips.
  • Preparing and cooking a meal in pairs.
  • Sharing the meal with the group.

Purchase the “Cooking for Older People” recipe book – this book is provided free to those who attend a Senior Chef course but it is also available for purchase through the SeniorChef website.  
For more information and to find out how to join a course in Otago, Canterbury, or Whangarei, go to

Just Cook 4 Healthy Ageing

Just Cook 4 Healthy Ageing is a shorter, four week hands-on nutrition and cooking programme for older adults. The practical and theory based programme aims to;
  • build cooking skills
  • improve motivation and confidence to cook
  • improve knowledge of healthy food choices
  • educate on how to cook meals on a restricted budget
  • address social isolation among older people

The Just Cook Recipe Book is available on the New Zealand Nutrition Foundation website and the programme is offered by Age Concern Otago.

For more information

Enter your postcode below to find your local Age Concern and the nutrition programmes available near you, or visit our page on Nutrition in the A-Z health topics list.

Find your nearest Age Concern