Supporting the Occupation of Healthy Eating: A Nutrition and Meal Preparation Guide for Older Adults Living Independently in the Community

Graduation Date


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Document Form


Degree Name

Masters of Science in Occupational Therapy


Occupational Therapy

Department or Program Chair

Ruth Ramsey, EdD, OTR/L

Thesis Advisor

Bonnie Napier-Tibere, EdD, OTR/L

Second Advisor

Ruth Ramsey, EdD, OTR/L


Meal preparation is an instrumental activity of daily living (IADL) that may become difficult for older adults over time (AOTA,2002). A significant number of older adults experience difficulty with meal preparation due to a variety of conditions and factors including arthritis, diminished cognition, changes in strength and coordination, diabetes and nutrition, and low vision (Dubouloz et al., 2004; Bonder & Goodman; 2002; Amschler, 2001; Rahman, Thomas,& Rice, 2002; and Lindo & Nordholm, 1999).

The goal of this project was to create a meal planning and preparation resource guide for older adults living independently in the community. The guide provided adapted meal preparation techniques and recommendations for alternative ways of preparing meals, to help older adults more successfully prepare healthy meals.

Providing simple and useful recommendations and techniques to encourage independent meal preparation may help older adults adapt to difficulties they encounter as a result of various medical conditions or age-related factors.

Recommending useful occupational therapy-based adaptations and compensatory techniques is a core concept of occupational therapy practice (AOTA,2002). These recommendations are delivered in this project via a written resource guide.

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