Project GUSTO: Cooking skills training for maintaining balanced nutrition, socialization, and cognition in older adults
- Karen Li (Concordia University)
- Patricia McKinley (McGill University)
- Frédérique Poncet(Student)
- Rudaina Halabi (Student)
- Gelymar Sanchez (Student)
- CRIR (Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Rehabilitation of Greater Montreal)
This study is designed to measure the effects of a cooking training program for older adults, called Project Gusto, with a focus on planning and preparing well-balanced meals from scratch. Secondary objectives include greater social and recreational engagement, assessing task self-efficacy, improving executive function and dual-task ability, and increasing confidence in mobility related to cooking tasks.
Project Gusto is a cooking intervention that was developed in a rehabilitation program in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital, France. An improvement in social activity and cooking skills among people with acquired brain injuries (e.g. stroke) was demonstrated. However, the effects of this cooking intervention in the general population are unknown, and are therefore the focus of the current project.
Canada faces a major increase in the number of older persons who live alone. Elderly living alone are at greater nutritional risk than those living with someone. This project will address the nutritional and psychosocial needs of adults aged 65 to 85 in Montreal, by providing a 7-week course in planning, shopping and cooking meals. Participants attend this program at community kitchens where they are instructed on the importance of good nutrition for healthy aging, the planning and cooking of well-balanced meals, and the art of shopping on a restricted budget. Each week a meal for 5 people is planned and cooked by participants. They are encouraged to learn from each other, to facilitate formation of a social network.
Success of the program will be measured in terms of change in the treatment group on multiple indicators: capacity to construct a meal, executive function, dual tasking, life activities, and mobility confidence.