Correlates and Consequences of Eating Dependency in Institutionalized Elderly

Hilary Siebens, Elizabeth Trupe, Arthur Siebens, Francis Cook, Susan Anshen, Richard Hanauer, Gerald Oster

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

218 Scopus citations


Loss of independent eating capacity is a major problem for the institutionalized elderly. Few studies have examined the factors associated with loss of functional eating capacity. The authors cross‐sectionally studied 240 residents of a skilled nursing facility, classified their functional eating status, identified correlated deficits, and followed these residents for six months. Information was gathered through questionnaires, chart review, and physical examinations. Residents were stratified into independent (68%, N = 264) and dependent (32%, N = 76) eating status groups according to the need for physical assistance during meals. Dependency status did not correlate with age (P = .88) or weight loss (P = .27). Loss of independence in eating was associated with impaired mobility (P =.0001), impaired cognition (P =.0001), modified consistency diets (P = .0001), upper extremity dysfunction (P = .0001), abnormal oral‐motor examinations (P = .0002), absence of teeth and dentures (P = .002), behavioral indicators of abnormal oral and pharyngeal stages of swallowing (P = .0001), and increased mortality within six months (P = .0001). Eating dependency is therefore associated with multiple impairments and early mortality. 1986 The American Geriatrics Society

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)192-198
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1986

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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