Beliefs about inevitable decline among home-living older adults at risk of malnutrition : a qualitative study

Payne, L, Harris, P, Ghio, D ORCID:, Slodkowska-Barabasz, J, Kelly, J, Stroud, M, Little, P, Yardley, L and Morrison, L 2020, 'Beliefs about inevitable decline among home-living older adults at risk of malnutrition : a qualitative study' , Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics, 33 (6) , pp. 841-851.

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Background About 14% of free-living adults aged 65 and over are at risk of malnutrition. Malnutrition screen and treat interventions in primary care are few, show mixed results and advice given is not always accepted and followed. We need to better understand the experiences and contexts of older adults in order to develop interventions that are engaging, optimally persuasive and relevant. Methodology Using the Person-based Approach, we carried out 23 semi-structured interviews with purposively selected adults aged 65 and over with chronic health or social conditions associated with malnutrition risk. Thematic analysis informed the development of key principles to guide planned intervention development. Results We found that individuals’ beliefs about inevitable decline in appetite and eating in older age compounds the many and varied physical and physiological barriers they experience. Also, we found that expectations of decline in appetite and physical ability may encourage resignation, reduce self-efficacy to overcome barriers and reduce motivation to address weight loss and/or recognise it as an issue that needs to be addressed. Fear of loss of independence may also reduce the likelihood of asking GPs for advice. Principal conclusions Key findings identified include a sense of resignation, multiple different barriers to eating, and a need for independence, each underpinned by expectation of decline in older adulthood. Interventions need to address misperceptions about the inevitability of decline, highlight how and why diet recommendations are somewhat different to recommendations for the general population, and suggest easy ways to increase food intake that address common barriers.

Item Type: Article
Schools: Schools > School of Health and Society > Centre for Health Sciences Research
Schools > School of Health and Society > Centre for Applied Research in Health, Welfare and Policy
Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics
Publisher: Wiley
ISSN: 0952-3871
Related URLs:
Funders: National Institute for Health Research Programme Grant for Applied Research
Depositing User: Dr Daniela Ghio
Date Deposited: 19 Aug 2020 08:55
Last Modified: 28 Aug 2021 11:56

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