Elderly Nutrition Study

A project by: University of Exeter

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Support our Research into Nutrition and Ageing

who we are

The BioActivEx Research Team at the University of Exeter investigates the effects of nutrition and ageing using hypothesis driven research to inform the development of evidence-based interventions to support longevity and quality of life.

What we're doing

We're currently conducting a research study examining whether receiving meals from the Dartmoor Community Kitchen Hub meal service improves physical wellbeing, mood, or happiness in community dwelling older adults. 

There is high prevalence of under-nourishment and malnutrition in community dwelling older adults. Under-nutrition causes include loss of appetite and taste, reduced capacity to access and prepare food, financial hardship, social isolation, and deterioration in psychological wellbeing. The resulting malnutrition is associated with increased frailty, disease burden, healthcare resource use and all-cause mortality. Consumption of a high-quality diet is associated with better health related outcomes, reduced healthcare resource use and is negatively associated with age-related loss of lean mass and functional capacity.

Sadly, the cost of living crisis means that malnutrition is likely to become more prevalent in the community without mainstreaming schemes such as this.

The meals provided by the Dartmoor Community Kitchen Hub in this research are designed to support older peoples’ health by being rich in protein and other important nutrients. Such provision of a highly nutritious meal every day is one mechanism to improve diet quality, but currently, less than half of local councils in England provide hot meal delivery services. UK ‘meals on wheels’ providers do not have to meet any nutrition standards, and so some providers may supply meals that do not have enough energy, protein, and nutrients to meet the needs of people who eat them. The research findings from this project will help us and others to design guidelines regarding minimum nutritional standards of home-delivered meals. The findings will also help us to measure the benefits of regularly receiving such meals for older people in the UK. We can then use this information to help build the case for local authorities and/or primary care to be funded to provide this service to those in need to improve quality of life, preserve independence and consequently save a huge financial burden for the health and social care system.

why we're fundraising

The 20% rise in the cost of living has meant that despite economising we are still around 10% away from being able to pay our running costs to complete this research, with funds due to run out by November 2022.

We are looking for urgent help to get us to the end of the meals production and delivery which ends in January 2023, otherwise we will not be able to continue to provide this service for vulnerable older adults in the community, nor will we be able to generate this important dataset to build the case for future investment in this service.

Where will the money go?

To complete this research study, we require an additional £20,000.

On average it costs £1,005 per month to provide the meals for one participant to complete the trial to cover the costs of the food, preparing the food and delivering the meals.

From the end of November 2022, we have 13 meals to provide daily to research participants costing £13,065 including delivery of these meals to Teignmouth, Dawlish, and Bovey Tracey.

Finally, to ensure the effective running of the meal delivery service, a logistics manager is employed at £2,430 per month, a total of £7,290 for 12 weeks.

PLEASE GIVE TODAY

All donations, of any size, would be very much appreciated - your kindness will have an immediate and significant impact upon our ability to continue with this research and provide meals to vulnerable older adults in the community. 

THANK YOU!