Exploring Cooking and Mealtime Needs of Older Adults Living Independently in the Community
J. McHugh1, O. Lee1, N. Aspell1, E. McCormack1, M. Loftus1, S. Brennan1, Brian Lawlor1
1Trinity College Dublin, Institute of Neuroscience, Ireland
Background: Older adults living independently often require cooking and nutritional support. Our aim was to explore cooking and eating patterns among Irish older adults, as well as exploring the recommendations of geriatric healthcare professionals, in order to inform future design of mealtime support for older adults. Methods: User and expert consultations in the form of interviews and focus groups were held with 7 users and 25 experts from relevant professions. All data were recorded, transcribed, and analysed using content analysis by two independent researchers. Findings: Overall a need for cooking support for older adults living independently was evident. The data revealed 14 recommendations including: dyadic peer-based partnership; active, person-centred, additive, multi-componential intervention; prioritising energy intake; and the mealtime as occasion, and as an opportunity to evaluate improvement. Discussion: Implications for supporting cooking and mealtimes in a social cognitive framework are discussed. We also describe the development of our own novel peer-led intervention arising from this research, entitled “RelAte”.