NUTR 2100 – Lifespan Nutrition: Interview Project

NUTR 2100 – Lifespan Nutrition: Interview Project

Points: 20pts

Purpose: To become familiar with social, economic, psychological, and physiological issues of aging that may affect dietary intake and nutrition status of an older adult. In addition to learning first-hand about food and nutrition issues in this stage of life, you will gain experience communicating with an older adult.

Overview: You will interview an older adult (70 or older; preferable 80yrs or older) at length about his or her diet.  The interview will take about an hour. Be sure to obtain permission from your interviewee prior to conducting this interview.  Your interviewee may be a family member or family friend. You may also contact a senior center or senior living facility to request permission to interview a resident for this class assignment.

You may assure your interviewee that information they share will be kept confidential and anonymous. (i.e. The information shared will only be used for this assignment and their name will not appear on the assignment).  If you make this promise you will need to keep their information confidential unless legal mandatory reporting is required (ex. elder abuse).  Please let your interviewee know that they can choose not to answer any questions.


1. Prepare for the interview

A. Select an older adult to interview and obtain permission to interview them. Your interviewee must be at least 70 yrs. or older; preferably 80 yrs. or older.

B. Set up a time to conduct the interview (due to COVID19 phone/Teams preferred).

2. Conduct your Interview (Be sure to take notes)

A. Introduction

· Introduce yourself and why you are conducting this interview. Explain that information shared will be kept confidential. Explain that you will be taking notes to help you remember what they said. Let you interviewee know that they can skip any question they are uncomfortable answering.

B. Complete the Nutrition Screening Initiative with your interviewee (form is found on the course website). For any “yes” answers, try to explore more extensively why they answered “yes”. Be sure to total your score.

C. Ask questions about food intake both past and present.

· What foods did they eat regularly as a youngster? Why? (You may also ask where they were born/grew up)

· What foods do they eat regularly now? Why?

· When they were growing up, what foods were only eaten on special occasions or holidays?

· Ask about likes and dislikes both past and present.

· Ask if there are any major differences between past and present tastes.

D. Ask about meal pattern.

· When is the first time they eat during the day?

· How many daily meals and snacks to they normally consume?

· Where are their meal eaten? (Home, restaurant, dining hall, kitchen, living room)

E. Ask questions related to meal preparation.

· Who does the grocery shopping? Where do they shop?

· Who plans menus/meals consumed?

· Who prepares the majority of their meals? Are others involved?

· Do they receive Senior Farmer’s Market vouchers, Meals-on-Wheels or attend congregate meal sites?

F. Ask about chronic disease states.

· Do they have high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, etc.?

· Do they or have they had any type of cancer?

G. Ask about medication or supplement use.

· Are they currently taking medication? Approximately how many per day? Are they aware of drug/nutrient interactions? Does this concern them?

· Do they take a vitamin/mineral or herbal supplement? Do they feel these are necessary? Why or why not?

H. Do they follow any special diets?

· Are there are any cultural, ethnic, or regional influences on their diets?

· Are they are allergic to any foods or have any food intolerances?

· Do they modify their diet in any way to prevent, treat or manage any chronic diseases (i.e. heart disease, osteoporosis, diabetes, etc)?

I. Attitude

· Do they feel diet is an important component of prevention, treatment or management of chronic disease?

· Ask them to describe how important good nutrition to them.

· Ask them to tell you about any barriers they experience to eating healthy or any supports that help them to eat healthy

J. Obtain demographic information (Make a note about known demographics and obtain additional demographics).

· Basic Demographics

a. age

b. sex

c. race/ethnicity

d. marital status (married, single, widowed, divorced, etc.)

e. living arrangements (home, nursing home, assisted living, with an adult child, etc.)

f. education level (highest level of education…high school, bachelors, etc.)

g. employment status (retired, part-time work, fulltime work)

3. Observation (look for clinical/physical signs of nutritional status)

· Do they appear (visually) to be under, adequately, or excessively nourished? e.g. are they underweight, overweight, etc. Do they show signs of fat loss such as hollowed, dark fat pads under the eyes? Do they show signs of muscle wasting such as temporal wasting or a skin and bones appearance? Do they show signs of functional decline or decline in activities of daily living (difficulty with mobility…standing up, walking, physical ability to shop, cook or clean)

· Evaluate skin (look for discolorations, un-healed lesions, bruising, rashes), nails (discolored, concave, large ridges), hair (brittle, dull, failing out), and mouth (cracked lips) health.

· Do they have their full set of teeth? Dentures?

· Do they appear to have difficulty with gross or fine motor skills?

4. Conclusion

A. Ask about any other pertinent questions related to food and nutrition.

B. Thank the interviewee for their time and assistance with this assignment.

5. Optional Meal Observation (You are not required to observe a meal but doing so may provide additional insight). If you are able to observe a meal, consider:

A. Are they able to get food successfully and easily to their mouth? (Do tremors, weakness or declines in fine motor skills get in the way?)

B. Are they able to control food once it is in their mouth? (Do they drool, spill or spit food out of their mouth)

C. Do they have any trouble chewing or swallowing? (Do they cough while eating or need to swallow multiple time for a small bite?)

D. What is their rate of feeding? (Slower or faster than the average adult?)

6. Reflective Journal (As you reflect, you will connect your experience to course content)

A. Your journal must be typed, single spaced, Times New Roman, 12pt font. Your reflection should be 3/4 to 1 page in length. Please do not go over 1pg. Be sure to proofread you work as grammar and spelling will count toward your overall grade.

B. Please include your name and date in the header of the document. Please include a brief title centered at the top of the page. Print the attached rubric and staple it to the front of your reflection. Attach your completed Nutrition Screening Initiative page and interview notes behind your reflection.

C. Provide a brief description of your interviewee including their demographic information. Discuss their score on the Nutrition Screening Initiative and the meaning of this score. Describe areas of risk for your interviewee according to the Nutrition Screening Initiative. If low risk is assessed, discuss factors that play a role in reducing their risk.

D. Describe your overall impression of your interviewee’s intake and nutritional status. Explain what evidence led you to this conclusion (observed or reported intake, physical observation, chronic disease state risks, knowledge level, motivation level, access to food, etc.). Do you anticipate any changes (increases or decreases) in nutritional risk in the next 6 months to a year? Why?

E. Reflect on social, economic, psychological, and physiological issues of aging that influence your interviewee. What issues are most pertinent for your interviewee? How do these issues compare to issues faced by other older adults? Are you able to identify any overarching issues for older adults? What could be done to improve nutritional intake of your interviewee and among the older adult population in general? How does the larger economic or political atmosphere influence older adult nutrition? What could be changed?

F. Reflect on what you learned from this experience. Describe something you learned about older adults and/or influences on their nutritional status. Has learning through the experience taught you any additional principles or made you aware of any additional issues not covered in class or not covered in-depth in class? Describe these principles or issues. Were there any surprises?

Checklist/Turn in the following items uploaded to Blackboard in 1 submission:

1. Your typed reflective journal. (10pts)

2. A copy of the completed Nutrition Screening Initiative. (5pts)

3. Notes from the interview. You notes should answer each question above. These may be handwritten and scanned or typed but should be neat and well organized. (5pts) (bottom)

*Please note your job is to interview this individual. You will NOT be providing dietary recommendations or counseling during the interview.

Name: _____________________________

NUTR 2100: Interview Project Rubric

Part A: Reflective Journal (10pts)

· Formatting(Times New Roman, 12pt font, single space) – 1pt

· Appropriate length (¾-1pg) – 1pt

· Demographics discussed – 1pt

· Nutrition Screening Initiative Score discussed – 1pt

· Overall impression of intake and nutrition status described & supported -2 pts.

· Issues impacting Aging discussed (social, economic, psychological & physiological-2pts.

(Overarching issues, how does larger economic or political atmosphere influence?)

· Surprises and/or learning from experience discussed – 2pts.

Part B: Nutrition Screening Initiative (5pts)

· Each question is answered

· Score is totaled

Part C: Notes from interview (5pts)

· Notes provide evidence that each question was asked

· Notes display depth of interview