Case studies of food shopping, cooking and eating habits in older women with Parkinson’s disease
Aims. The principal aim of this study was to investigate how married and single-living older women diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease managed to shop for food, cook and carry out their meals; and to observe whether their nutritional needs were satisfied. A secondary aim was to identify women with severe motor problems and describe their food-related situation.
Background. Parkinson’s disease is associated with motor and eating problems, which, combined with age-related declines in physical functioning, may affect activities of daily living and dietary intake.
Methods. Qualitative interviews and food survey were carried out in the homes of 10 women aged 67–80 years. The sample was recruited from outpatient registers.
Results. Decreased sense of smell, appetite and taste in combination with problems transporting food to the mouth and swallowing were risks for nutritional well-being. Food shopping was most difficult to manage, but six cooked even if their cooking style was changed. Married women with healthy husbands received support from their spouses. Single-living women suffering from motor problems had to call for help, which represented a threat to their well-being. Independence was given high priority.
Conclusions. The whole situation – including psychosocial and stress factors – must be taken into account when discussing shopping, cooking and eating among old women with Parkinson’s disease. A home-helper should not take over but facilitate procedures so that the woman can manage as long as possible. This gave them self-esteem.