Journal List > J Nutr Health > v.46(6) > 1081324

J Nutr Health. 2013 Dec;46(6):589-596. Korean.
Published online December 31, 2013.
© 2013 The Korean Nutrition Society
Qualitative study on home delivery meal services for the elderly
Sunhee Seo,1 Eunju Yu,2 and Og Yeon Kim1
1Department of Nutritional Science and Food Management, Ewha Womans University, Seoul 120-750, Korea.
2Combination Research Center for Health Science, Ewha Womans University, Seoul 120-750, Korea.

To whom correspondence should be addressed. (Email: )
Received June 28, 2013; Revised September 24, 2013; Accepted November 20, 2013.

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


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: 〈decent meals〉, 〈meals for survival〉, 〈less considerate meal〉, 〈loss of eating need〉, and 〈meals of silence〉. 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.

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


Table 1
Characteristics of home-delivered meal service participants
Click for larger image

Table 2
The experiential meaning of home-delivered meal services for the elderly
Click for larger image


This research was supported from the Seoul Community Lab of 'Seoul Creative Lab'.

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