Food hygiene challenges in older people : Intergenerational learning as a health asset
Older people are more at risk of contracting foodborne infections; however the majority remain well despite the physical, social and cognitive challenges of older age. Future healthcare strategies targeting older people can be informed by exploring the food history and current context of their lives and what 'assets' they employ to successfully consume 'safe' food in the home. Phase I: Sociodemographic, health and asset related data collection through a researcher completed questionnaire i) at 4 Age-UK lunch clubs ii) at a North Hertfordshire District Council community centre lunch club and iii) via a 3UA webpage in Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire. 50 respondents recruited via self-selection. Quantitative data were analyzed using SPSS. Phase II: 15 semi-structured interviews conducted via purposive sampling from the questionnaire cohort, and 3 interviews with sheltered housing staff in Buckinghamshire. Qualitative data analyzed using a Grounded Theory approach with NVivo software. Mean age: 79 years (SD 8.9) from 62-99 years.19 Male (38%), 31 female (62%). Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) 10cm scale for reporting subjective health: mean 6.8cm. 80% lived independently alone, either in their own homes or in sheltered accommodation. Exploring the reported belief that 'food hygiene didn't exist' during the childhood years of this population and theoretical development of concepts surrounding whether adult food hygiene practices were hidden and nonverbalized as viewed by children, or unnecessarily in times of a simplified food chain between producer and consumer. Adapting to modern food products has required the acquirement of new food hygiene knowledge and skills, with evidence that this knowledge is now being passed from the younger generation to the elder along with food provision.