The journal of nutrition, health & aging

, Volume 14, Issue 1, pp 11–14 | Cite as

A survey of nutrition and health status of solitary and non-solitary elders in Taiwan

Article

Abstract

Objectives

To compare the effects of living alone versus living in a group setting on the health, nutrition, personal cognition and general living function of a group of elderly Taiwanese. We also hypothesized that older adults living alone would have poorer indices of function and health than would elderly persons living in a group setting.

Design and participants

We conducted a cross-sectional validation study of 360 men and women older than 65 y. The subjects were 120 solitary (living alone) elders and 240 were non-solitary elders.

Measurements

Both groups completed a series of questionnaires, including the Nutrition Screening Initiative (NSI), Mini Nutritional Assessment (MNA), Activities of Daily Living (ADLs/Barthel scales), Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs/Lawton scales), Short Portable Mental State Questionnaire (SPMSQ), and Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS). The participants were then administered by specially trained field workers. Blood samples were taken and body mass index, and mid-arm and calf circumferences were measured. The results for each group were statistically analyzed. A p-value < 0.05 was considered significant.

Results

The nutritional and health status of the solitary elders, especially males, was poor compared to that of the non-solitary elders. In the solitary elders group, the average scores on the NSI, MNA, ADL, IADL, SPMSQ, and GDS were: 4.6, 23.7, 95.6, 7.6, 0.5, and 13%, respectively.

Conclusion

Solitary elders, especially males, have a significantly increased risk of poor nutrition (MNA< 24), poor health status, impaired cognition, and impaired activities of daily living.

Key words

Elderly housing for elderly health status nutritional assessment 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. 1.
    Gurley RJ, Lum N, Sande M, et al. Persons found in their homes helpless or dead. N Engl J Med 1996; 334:1710–1716.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Chen CC. A framework for studying nutritional health of community-dwelling elders. Nurs Res 2005; 54:13–21.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Sullivan DH, Bopp MM, Roberson PK. Protein-energy undernutrition and lifethreatening complications among the hospitalized elderly. J Gen Intern Med 2002; 17:923–932.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Elmstahl S, Persson M, Andren M, et al. Malnutrition in geriatric patients: a neglected problem. J Advanced Nurs 1997; 26:851–855.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Goodwin JS, Goodwin JM, Garry PJ. Association between nutritional status and cognitive functioning in a healthy elderly population. JAMA 1983; 249:2917–2921.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Saluter AF. Marital status and living arrangements: March 1986. Curr Popul Rep Popul Charact 1987; 418:1–89.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    U.S. Department of Commerce. Health care strategic management. Chicago, IL. Jan 1997, vol.15,issue 1:11.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Elders’ Welfare Ministry, Interior Department of Social Affairs: Lonely elders in each municipality/county/city statistics; general chart through the years, 2008. http://sowf.moi.gov.tw/04/07/1/1-03.htm
  9. 9.
    Taipei City government. Lonely elders in the social bureau services, 2005. http://www.moi.gov.tw/stat
  10. 10.
    The elders service center in Wan Hwa district, 2005. http://www.healthcity.net.tw/upload/200561017412912.doc
  11. 11.
    World Health Organization. Nutrition anaemias: Report of a World Health Organization scientific group. Technical Series No.405.Geneva: World Health Organization, 1992.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Reyes JG, Zuniga AS, Cruz MG. Prevalence of hyponutrition in elderly at admission to the hospital. Nutr Hosp 2007; 22:702–709.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Hayden MR, Tyagi SC. Myocardial redox stress and remodeling in metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes mellitus, and congenital heart failure. Med Sci Monit 2003; 9:SR 35–SR52.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Chandra RK, Imbach A, Moore C, et al. Nutrition of the elderly. CMA J 1991; 145: 1475–1487.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Chernoff R. Nutrition and health promotion in older adults. J Gerontol A Biol Sci. 2001; 56: 47–53.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Posner BM, Jette A, Smigelski C, et al. Nutritional risk in New England elders. J Gerontol 1994;49:M123–M132.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Lee MS, Wahlqvist ML. Population-based studies of nutrition and health in Asia Pacific elderly. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr 2005;14:294–297PubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Powers JS. Facilitated feeding in disabled elderly. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care 2002; 5:315–319.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Morillas J, Garcin-Talaver N, Martin-Paueto G, et al. Detection of hyponutrition risk in non-institutionalized elders. Nutr Hosp 2006; 21:650–656.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    McAlpine SJ, Harper J, McMurdo ME, et al. Nutritional supplementation in older adults: pleasantness, preference and selection of sip-feeds. Br J Health Psychol 2003;8:57–66.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Tucker KL, Falcon LM, Bianchi LA, et al. Self-reported prevalence and health correlates of functional limitation among Massachusetts elderly Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, and non-Hispanic white neighborhood comparison group. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci 2000; 55:M 90–M 97.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Tse MM, Benzie IF. Dietary-related profile of older persons in the Chinese community: an exploratory study. J Nutr Health Aging 2008; 12:163–167.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Keller HH. Nutrition and health-related quality of life in frail older adults. J Nutr Health Aging 2004; 8:245–252.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Larrieu S, Letenneur L, Berr C, et al. Sociodemographic differences in dietary habits in population-based sample of elderly subjects: the 3C study. J Nutr Health Aging 2004;8:497–502.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Drewnowski A, Shultz JM. Impact of aging on eating behaviors, food choices, nutrition, and health status. J Nutr Health Aging 2001; 5:75–79.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Broyles RW, McAuley WJ. The medically vulnerable: their health risk, health status, and use of physician care. J of Health Care Poor Underserved 1999;10:186–200.Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Ishizaki T, Watanabe S, Suzuki T, et al. Predictors for functional decline among nondisabled older Japanese living in a community during in a 3-year follow up. J Am Geriatr Soc 2000; 48:1424–1429.PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Serdi and Springer Verlag France 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of NursingTaipei City HospitalYangming BranchTaiwan
  2. 2.Department of Internal MedicineTaipei City HospitalYangming BranchTaiwan
  3. 3.Department of PediatricTaipei City HospitalRenai BranchTaiwan
  4. 4.School of MedicineNational Yang-Ming UniversityTaipeiTaiwan
  5. 5.Taipei City HospitalTaipei CityTaiwan

Personalised recommendations