Eating well while cocooning – advice for older people

By Sarah Noone Coronavirus News   |   29th Apr 2020

Our expert dietitian Sarah Noone shares some nutritional and practical advice for older people on eating well while cocooning to protect themselves from covid-19.

Everyone over the age of 70 and those with specific medical conditions known as “medically vulnerable” must cocoon. Here are some tips on eating well for older people to assist them to stay well at home.

What food items should I put on my grocery list?

Frozen or tinned fruit and vegetables are just as healthy as fresh fruit and veg and keep longer. If opting for tins choose fruit in its own juice not syrup and vegetables with no added salt. Remember fresh foods with relatively long shelf life includes root vegetables such as potatoes , sweet potatoes, carrots and onions.

Wholegrain varieties of bread/ rolls can be frozen and used when needed. Wholegrain rice and pasta, oats and nuts are also great long lasting cupboard staples.

Good sources of protein include: dried or canned beans, peas (this includes baked beans), lentils, eggs, tinned fish (ideally in spring water or tomato sauce) or fresh meat such as chicken or turkey which can be divided into portions and frozen.

Remember to include dairy or dairy alternatives such as milk and yogurts. Long life milk, dried milk powder are a good standby.

Keep supplies of flavourings such as pepper, lemon juice, herbs and spices to hand.

I am cocooning what food delivery options are available?

You may be able to ask family, friends or neighbours to do your food shop or collect medical supplies for you. It is important to ensure they follow physical distancing guidelines when dropping off your supplies.

If you use the internet you can order groceries and supplies using online shopping services offered by both Tesco and Supervalu.

Alone a national charity for older people operates a helpline at Tel: 0818 222 024 which you can call for practical support.

You can also contact your local Garda station. The Gardaí can arrange for delivery of food and prescriptions and direct you to other helpful organisations involved in providing services during these difficult times.

The Governement has also recently launched its Community Call initiative which includes the establishment of 31 community call offices around the country and volunteers will help delivering groceries or collecting medicines as needed. If you need help you can read more about this initiative here and find the local community call office in your area.

You can ask any of the above contacts about what meal delivery services may be available in your local area e.g. Meals on Wheels or restaurants offering home delivery .

Where can I find the dedicated shopping times for older and vulnerable people in different supermarkets?

Here is a list of priority hours in supermarkets around the country.

I have been struggling with poor appetite recenty what can I do ?

During this period you may be find that your eating habits have changed. It is a worrying time for everyone and this can sometimes cause a loss of appetite. If you feel you are struggling with poor appetite it may help to try eat little and often as sometimes large meals can be overwhelming. If you are concerned about poor appetite please contact your GP/ dietitian.

We are here for you

The Irish Heart Foundation’s nurse support line is available five days a week. Anyone living with heart disease and stroke who has concerns or questions about the coronavirus can contact the nurse support line on 01 668 5001 or

The Irish Heart Foundation’s new heart support group is on Facebook. Anyone who lives with heart failure or another heart condition or has a family member living with a heart condition can join here:

The Irish Heart Foundation runs 21 stroke support groups and 5 heart failure groups around the country. All these groups have moved to telephone and online support. For more information, see



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