3D Printing Helps Nursing Home Residents Enjoy Their Meals

For many nursing home residents, problems chewing and swallowing make pureeing meals a necessity.

Yet, eating mush every day is unappealing and boring.

Now, one group of nursing home residents in Germany will again get to enjoy attractive meals thanks to 3D printing.

“Because these people can’t chew their food very well, they typically have to eat purees,” said Kjeld van Bommel of the Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research (TNO). “We wanted to provide something more appetizing.”

Feeding the puree into a specialized 3D printer, pureed carrots can be shaped to look like carrots, and pureed fish can be made to look once again like a fish filet helping to jazz up the look of the meals and hopefully encourage elder residents to eat.

In addition, the food can be tailored to both the nutritional and firmness needs of each patient.

“3D foodprinting can help transform alternative ingredients like proteins from algae, beet leaves or insects, that are otherwise hard to process into tasty products with recognisable structures that are good not only for health but also for the environment,” Dr. Ronald Visschers of TNO explained.

While the nursing home residents have not yet weighed in on whether the food printer is a hit, the innovative use of 3D technology is just one of the many ways 3D printing is being used to change lives of young and old alike in new and sometimes unexpected ways.