The project will develop an integrated strategy to improve the nutritional well-being of older people and hence their independence and quality of life. It will identify the problems older people encounter in obtaining and preparing foods to meet their specific needs and preferences. Each stage in the process from purchase to consumption will be examined including food retail access, choice of products and meal preparation issues. The attitudes and beliefs that influence food choices will be surveyed including perceptions of food-related health risks, functional foods, nutritional claims and retail practices. The importance of activities related to food procurement will be reviewed including social roles and relationships, economic factors, health status and how these influence the quality of the diet. The project will lead to more effective systems of food delivery, product development and inform policy aimed at healthy ageing.
The key objectives are to generate longitudinal, qualitative and quantitative data on the relationship between food intake, nutrition, health and quality of life; to understand the specific food procurement and consumption requirements of older people living alone compared to those living with others; and to maximise implementation of the findings through active dissemination and consultation with stakeholders. The specific scientific objectives are to investigate: the extent to which convenience and health drive food selection; the interaction between food procurement and meal preparation skills; user satisfaction with food-related services; the role of formal and informal networks in food provisioning and consumption among older people; the role of meals in later life; and the relationship between food, nutrition, health and quality of life in older people.
Pan European-databases on food selection, food procurement & meal planning/preparation in later life (month 18); food-related services available to seniors, the role of formal & informal networks in food procurement & the role of meals in later life (month 24); the relationship between food, nutritional well-being, health and quality of life (month 34) Month 36: Final report, recommendations and workshops on optimising the role food in sustaining independence and quality of life in old age.