The preparation of food and drink is regarded as pivotal to care of chronically sick elderly people in urban Indonesia. Their meals are cooked solely by close household members. The majority of the elderly sick take part in the joint daily meals that serve as important arenas of social interaction and information sources. Continued commensality and participation in the sharing of food during festivities and ceremonies thus represents a vital source of social identity and social involvement for older people. However, many of the chronically ill elderly patients in this study have to comply with certain dietary restrictions. Chronic disease such as hypertension, diabetes and rheumatism thus change the nature of the patient-carer relationship by introducing the notions of trust and control. The patient has to trust the special, “healthy” treatment, that is to say, the healthy diet that is provided by his/her caregiver. On the other hand, the caregiver exerts power by controlling dietary intake, thus monitoring the elderly patient’s compliance with prescribed therapy.