Food, eating and social dynamics in the retirement community
Abstract. Research has shown that positive dietary practices play a role in preventing morbidity, delaying mortality, and enhancing quality of life. Not as well researched are the dietary behaviors of elderly women. The purpose of this study was to examine how the physical and social environment of a retirement community without special care ammenities shapes dietary practices among older women. In- depth narrative interviews with 18 female residents allowed insight into their dietary experiences. The consequent analysis identified four levels of influence: 1) ageing factors; 2) resident interaction and roles; 3) the retirement community environment; and 4) economic and political factors. Findings were interpreted in terms of social experiences and structural characteristics of the retirement community that constrain or facilitate dietary practices. These findings provide a better understanding of elderly womens dietary behavior and have implications on quality of life issues for residents of retirement communities.