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Nutritional self-care among a group of older home-living people in rural Southern Norway

Authors Dale B, Söderhamn U

Received 8 October 2014

Accepted for publication 29 October 2014

Published 23 January 2015 Volume 2015:8 Pages 67—74

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/JMDH.S75521

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Scott Fraser

Bjørg Dale, Ulrika Söderhamn

Centre for Caring Research – Southern Norway, Faculty of Health and Sport Sciences, University of Agder, Grimstad, Norway

Background: Older home-living people are an at-risk group for undernutrition, particularly those who are living alone. Lack of knowledge about healthy dietary habits, altered taste sensation, and declined health status are shown to be some of the factors related to undernutrition. The aims of this study were to explore how a small group of older people in Southern Norway perceived their nutritional self-care.
Methods: An exploratory qualitative approach, combined with a simple self-report questionnaire, was used. Five persons living in rural areas in Southern Norway, who in a former study were screened and found to be at risk for undernutrition, participated. Qualitative data assessed by means of individual self-care talks in the persons' own homes were analyzed using directed content analysis. A simple self-report questionnaire containing demographic variables, two health-related questions, and the Nutritional Form For the Elderly (NUFFE-NO) instrument was filled out at baseline and 6 months after the self-care talks.
Results: The qualitative data showed that the participants had adequate knowledge about healthy and nutritious diets. They were aware of and motivated to adapt their diet to their current state of health and to perform the necessary actions to maintain an optimal nutritional status and nutritional self-care.
Conclusion: Older people living at home are a diverse group. However, this study showed that they may have sufficient knowledge, willingness, and ability to perform nutritional self-care, even if they live alone and have several chronic illnesses and impaired health.

Keywords: adapting, decision-making, knowledge, self-care talks

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