UEA researchers probe food and old age

Researchers in Norfolk have been given funding to investigate how women cope with preparing food as they get older.The £79,500 funding has been handed out to a team of UEA researchers who will look at the changing role of women in relation to food preparation as they get older.

Researchers in Norfolk have been given funding to investigate how women cope with preparing food as they get older.

The £79,500 funding has been handed out to a team of UEA researchers who will look at the changing role of women in relation to food preparation as they get older.

The team, based at the University of East Anglia, the University of Surrey and Age Concern Norfolk, is made up of researchers and members of the public and is looking to talk to women directly affected by the issues, with a view to making improvements for the future.

Lee Hooper, a lecturer in nutrition at the UEA medical school, said: “We want to talk to women who have recently started to need help preparing their meals. We want to know how they are getting that help - from meals on wheels or at a luncheon club - how they feel about this experience and what could be done to improve the service they receive.

“Some women may feel very relieved to receive help with shopping and cooking, but others may feel a great sense of loss at their changed role, and frustration at no longer being in control of what is bought and how it is cooked.”

The project, known as CAFÉ (changes around food experience), will also involve three members of Patient and Public Involvement in Research in the design of the study.

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One of them, Mandy Wellings, said: “As a carer for my mother with dementia I feel that I have experienced what it was like for her to lose her involvement with food. My role as part of the Cafe team is to bring realism into the research and enable it to reflect the needs of those being researched.”

The Café team is looking for people to take part who may have: recently started to need help to prepare meals; use more ready meals or meals-on-wheels now, or attend a luncheon club; regard food as important as to how they socialise; or may want other forms of support you would like to help you with food.

Anyone interested should contact Dr Lane on 01603 592868, Dr Hooper on 01603 591268 or e-mail cafe@uea.ac.uk