Expert: we need several parties collaboration to meet the nutrition of the elderly

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Illustration by Feri Fenoria

UNAIR NEWS – Faculty of Nursing Lecturer at Universitas Airlangga, Rista Fauziningtyas and the team conducted research on the experience of older people living alone in meeting their nutritional needs. She and the team used a qualitative research method with a phenomenological design to explore the difficulties of older people living alone in rural areas of Magetan in meeting their nutritional needs.

On average, the elderly involved in the study is 64 years old, the majority work as farmers and farm laborers, with an income in one month between 500 thousand to 1.5 million rupiah. Four elderly people are at risk of malnutrition.

Based on the experience of the elderly involved in her research, there are three strategies in meeting nutritional needs. By buying food from a stall, cooking their food, and getting food from the garden.

“The obstacles to fulfilling nutrition in elderly people living alone are aging, illness and financial inadequacy,” said Rista.

Food that is usually bought by the elderly is very diverse — starting from a variety of cakes, rice complete with side dishes, and also meatballs. While the food obtained from the garden is usually a variety of vegetables, fruits, and tubers.

“Vegetables that are commonly used are spinach, long beans, and cassava leaves. Bananas, mango, and papaya are the most commonly available fruits in the garden, and cassava and cassava are often used as food for elderly people living alone, “Rista added.

They mostly eat simple food and usually, older people do not pay attention to the procedures for presentation. Food is not laid out on the table, only placed in a pot or pan. Most of the side dishes that are bought at the stall are tofu and tempeh.

According to Rista, the biggest obstacle felt by the elderly in fulfilling nutritional integrity is the condition of the disease. Such as gout, stiff joints, and rheumatism. Gout causes older people limit their food variants that are high in purines and pyrimidines.

Stiff and rheumatic conditions cause the elderly can not walk far to buy food or cook for themselves. Several disorders exacerbate the condition of the disease due to the aging process of missing teeth and difficult to swallow.

The challenge to live alone is greater in the elderly than in adulthood. Older people find it difficult to meet their daily needs, such as eating, bathing, and other activities. From the research, it was found that some parents have no appetite because they are sick or lonely and cannot get food regularly.

Furthermore, the elderly also experience decreased digestive function, depression, changes in economic conditions, lack of knowledge about nutrition, and physical disabilities, such as shopping and cooking difficulties. “Everything can be a problem in fulfilling nutrition in elderly living alone,” said Rista.

According to Rista, the obstacle must be overcome by involving cooperation from the government, health workers and the community. Community involvement in meeting the nutritional needs of the elderly who live alone is urgently needed.

“The involvement can be in the form of special attention and supervision by elderly cadres,” he explained.

According to Rista, health workers at the Puskesmas need to visit their homes for the elderly who live alone. The goal is to check the health status and also the fulfillment of nutritional needs.

“The elderly Posyandu activities also need to be activated to help check the nutritional status of the elderly. Besides, families still have to provide support and regular visits to the elderly who live alone, “he added. (*)

Author: Binti Q. Masruroh

Editor: Khefti Al Mawalia

Informasi detail dari riset ini dapat dilihat pada tulisan di:

Elida Ulfiana, Oktaviana Ristya Anggraini, and Rista Fauziningtyas. 2019. “How do I fulfill my nutrition: The experience of older adults who live alone”. Indian Journal of Public Health Research and Development, Volume 10, Issue 8, Pages 2724-2728.

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