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Accessing food in later life

Eating well is essential to good health and wellbeing. However, some people find it difficult to access and consume safe, nutritious and tasty (or socially acceptable) food. These difficulties are known as food insecurity. For older people, this is commonly linked with social or health problems - mobility issues, lack of transport or difficulty carrying shopping bags are just a few of the issues faced when shopping for food. In addition, health problems, poor cooking skills or a lack of motivation to cook or eat can pose challenges at home.

It is vital that individuals and organisations working with older people should understand the challenges that they face. Malnutrition affects 1 in 10 older people and can cause serious health issues like weakening the immune system, inability to recover from illness, and even death. This makes it crucial that older people are supported to cook, eat and shop.

The Food In Later Life Game helps address this issue, delivering practical knowledge and confidence to those supporting, living with or providing a service to older people, with the ultimate aim of improving health and wellbeing for the older generation.

Face-to-face and online versions available

Board game for face-to-face learning.

Traditional tabletop game for groups working face-to-face. Encourages collaborative team discussions.

Generates fun and enthusiasm with a serious purpose and clear outcomes.

Online for socially distanced learning.

Digital board game replicates the intensity of face-to-face on Zoom, Skype & Teams.

Can be used for remote learning or socially distanced face-to-face sessions. Just share your screen with the group, wherever they are.

Who should play The Food In Later Life Game?

The Food In Later Life Game helps people to consider the things that we can all do to help older people continue to access and enjoy food in later life, therefore helping to prevent malnutrition and its associated health issues.

Anyone in a care or support role or providing a service used by older people would benefit from playing this game, such as:

  • Staff in supermarkets or food stores
  • Social care staff working in the community
  • Community groups such as Meals on Wheels or lunch group providers
  • Volunteers working with older people
  • Students studying dietetics, social care or hospitality
  • Hospitality and catering staff
  • Anyone working in public health
  • Healthcare staff including community, mental health and practice nurses and students

Share stories and learn from older people about their experiences accessing food.

Food security training session for dietitians at University of Hertfordshire.

The role of food retailers

A study by the University of Hertfordshire discovered that for older people, staying in control of their shopping is a key part of remaining independent. For some older people living alone, a shopping trip may be their only source of social interaction with other people. As an integral part of the community, supermarkets and other food providers have a key role to play in protecting older people’s food security and wellbeing

Small changes in approach can make accessing and consuming food much easier for older people. Changes can be as simple as rest areas in supermarkets or large print menus in restaurants – The Food In Later Life Game helps staff discuss and explore the changes they can make to provide a more inclusive environment.


Councilor Roberts and Wendy Wills play at Malnutrition Awareness Week event.

“This game asks, and answers, questions around the issue of food and older people and helps those working with older people to gain a better understanding of the issue. Ultimately this is the best way of keeping people fit and fed and the game really helps for that.”

- Councilor Roberts, Hertfordshire County Council.

Staff, volunteers and older people play Food In Later Life Game at Malnutrition Awareness Week event.

“The Food in Later Life Game is great at getting people to think about food insecurity in later life and the barriers to eating well which can increase the risk of malnutrition. It generates conversations about how things could be done differently and this promotes change in the community.”

- Sally Grubb, Eat Well Age Well Project Dietitian.

Older people play the Food In Later Life Game and discuss food and health.

“We played the game to encourage conversation regarding healthy meals and the accessibility of food. The group enjoyed exchanging useful ideas about managing their access to food. They felt reassured by individuals experiences which reflected problems they had also encountered. We would have most certainly liked to play the game again. The thoughts and ideas from the attendees created a better understanding of their lives. As independent older adults, shopping and mealtimes are difficult to manage. The discussion process was very interesting and thoughtful - we even discussed WW2 rations and mealtime recipes!”

- Emma Ring, Keyham Lunch Club, Plymouth

Developed by older people’s health experts

The Food In Later Life Game was developed in partnership with the Centre for Research in Public Health And Community Care (CRIPACC) at the University of Hertfordshire.

“We wanted to develop a fun, interactive way for people to engage with findings from our research, so that those who interact with older people as they go about their everyday activities can be more aware of potential food insecurity. We hope those playing the game will be encouraged to think of and try the simple things they can do to help those in later life continue to live independently and access the food they want to eat.”

- Angela Dickinson, Senior Research Fellow, CRIPACC.

"Sometimes it’s easy to think that the solution to help older people access food is simple – organise meals on wheels or do food shopping on someone else’s behalf, for example – but this game, based on our research study, will show that people’s lives are complex and that there are costs as well as benefits to making changes to the way people get food as they age. Students, families, paid carers, retailers, housing organisations and any group who cares about older people’s health and wellbeing will benefit from playing our Food In Later Life Game."

- Wendy Wills, Director, CRIPACC.

The Food In Later Life Game was developed following research undertaken in the “Food Provision In Later Life Study.” The research briefing “Improving Food Shopping For Older People” is the culmination of this research and inspiration for developing The Food In Later Life Game.

Research Funded by Economic and Social Research Council and Food Standards Agency (Understanding the challenges of the Food system Call Grant Ref: ES/M00306X/1)

What is food shopping really like for older people? This video "Food In Later Life" shows food shopping through the eyes of older people.

Listen from 33 mins to hear Wendy Wills discuss food insecurity and The Food In Later Life Game.

Visit our shop to buy THE FOOD IN LATER LIFE GAME and to see our other games.

Price of game:
£60.00 EXC Vat

More from Focus Games

Click Here to see the Food Hygene Game
Click here to see the Nutrition Game
Click here to see the Hydration Game

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