Korean J Community Nutr.  2019 Aug;24(4):277-289. 10.5720/kjcn.2019.24.4.277.

Operation and Process Evaluation of a Community Meal Program for the Elderly in Rural Areas during Agricultural Off-Season Perceived by Cooking Volunteers

Affiliations
  • 1Major of Food and Nutrition, Seoul Women's University, Seoul, Korea, Graduate Student.
  • 2Major of Food and Nutrition, Seoul Women's University, Seoul, Korea, Visiting Professor.
  • 3Department of Food and Nutrition, Myongji University, Yongin, Gyeonggi, Korea, Research Professor.
  • 4Department of Food and Nutrition, Myongji University, Yongin, Gyeonggi, Korea, Professor.
  • 5Major of Food and Nutrition, Seoul Women's University, Seoul, Korea, Professor. klee@swu.ac.kr

Abstract


OBJECTIVES
This study examined the practices of a community meal program for older adults in rural areas during the agricultural off-season.
METHODS
A survey was conducted from December 12 to December 22, 2016. Self-administered questionnaires were distributed to 150 cooking volunteers, who had participated in the community meal program in 50 villages. A total of 114 responses were returned from 44 villages and used for data analysis. In addition, in-depth interviews were conducted with the volunteers of eight villages.
RESULTS
Most of the cooking volunteers were 50 years old or older and they participated in serving older adults meals for good will. The cooking volunteers perceived that the older adults in their community did not eat various foods, had difficulties in grocery shopping, and frequently consumed salty foods. During the agricultural off-season, 40.9% of villages served the older adults meals 6-7 days a week and 95.5% provided meals for lunch. An average of 21 to 40 older adults were served meals in each village. The cooking volunteers reported that the food preparation and meal service times were sufficient, recipes provided were useful, and menus met the preference of the older adults. At the end of the program, they felt proud of serving meals for older adults in the community. An increased awareness of healthy eating, interest in health, and consumption of nutritious meals, a decrease in loneliness among older adults, and the promotion of fellowship in the community were rated highly. The cooking volunteers expected additional support for cooking personnel and insisted that the program should be provided for the entire agricultural off-seasons.
CONCLUSIONS
The community meal program during the agricultural off-season for the elderly in rural areas was effective in improving the dietary life of older adults, relieving their feelings of isolation, and promoting fellowship of the community. The volunteers felt workload due to a shortage of volunteers but answered that they were rewarded by helping older adults in their community.

Keyword

elderly; rural areas; agricultural off-season; cooking volunteers; community meal program

MeSH Terms

Adult
Aged*
Cooking*
Eating
Fellowships and Scholarships
Humans
Loneliness
Lunch
Meals*
Reward
Statistics as Topic
Volunteers*
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