The link between adequate nutrition and quality of life for older persons is well established. With the proportion of older adults increasing, policy regarding support and care for the ageing has shifted emphasis to keeping older adults in their homes for as long as possible. Risk of malnutrition is an issue of importance for this population and, while this risk is well researched within the hospital setting, it is still relatively under-researched within the community-dwelling elderly, particularly with respect to the lived experience. This qualitative study (underpinned by interpretative phenomenology philosophy) explores how the lived experiences of community-dwelling older people living in one-person households in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) influences dietary patterns, food choices and perceptions about food availability. Using purposeful and snowballing sampling, older people (65 years and over) living alone in the community participated in focus group discussions triangulated with their family/carers. Data were thematically analysed using a previously established approach. Participants (n = 22) were interviewed in three focus groups. Three themes were identified: active and meaningful community connectedness; eating well and behaviours to promote dietary resilience. Of these, community connectedness was pivotal in driving food patterns and choices and was a central component influencing behaviours to eating well and maintaining dietary resilience.
Low, E., Kellett, J., Bacon, R., & Naumovski, N. (2020). Food habits of older Australians living alone in the Australian Capital Territory. Geriatrics (Switzerland), 5(3). https://doi.org/10.3390/GERIATRICS5030055