J Nutr Health.  2013 Dec;46(6):589-596.

Qualitative study on home delivery meal services for the elderly

  • 1Department of Nutritional Science and Food Management, Ewha Womans University, Seoul 120-750, Korea. seo@ewha.ac.kr
  • 2Combination Research Center for Health Science, Ewha Womans University, Seoul 120-750, Korea.


As the importance of elderly's dietary life have increased, low-income elderly's meal should be taken care by social policies. Nevertheless, there is a lack of systematic management in home-delivery meal service. This study aims to investigate the elderly's experience on home-delivered meal service, especially identifying the symbolic meaning of home-delivered meal service on elderly's dietary life. Using an in-depth interview, qualitative data was collected from five elderly participants who received home-delivered meals. Data was analyzed based on Colaizzi's 6 steps method, deriving 148 significant statements, 18 formulated meanings, and 5 themes: , , , , and . Elderly participants regarded the home delivered meal as not only a decent meal but also felt appreciated. The home-delivered meals were found to be their only meal all day; thus, they considered these meals as a means of survival. Home-delivered meals are considered as a lack of consideration for the elderly's physical condition, including their tastes, portion size, and cooking method. Also, these elderly seemed to lose their appetite due to aging and it caused the enjoyment of eating. The elderly have kept silence never expressing any opinions regarding the home delivered meals because they were offered for free. The results suggested that the home-delivered meal service should be developed with the multilateral evaluation methods to reflect the elderly's needs to improve the quality of the home-delivered meal service.


low-income elderly; qualitative approach; home delivery meal service; meals for survival
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