Publication Details

Evans, K., Manning, F., Walton, K., Traynor, V., McMahon, A. T. & Charlton, K. E. (2014). "More than just a meal": a qualitative study of the views and experiences of older people using a Meals on Wheels (MOW) service. The Journal of Aging Research and Clinical Practice, 3 (2), 100-106.

Link to publisher version (URL)

Journal of Aging Research and Clinical Practice


Background: Community based Meal on Wheels (MOW) services contribute to promoting the independence of older people through the provision of home delivered meals. It is important to actively explore the views, expectations and experiences of clients to ensure their services are contemporary. Objectives: To explore the views and experiences of older people who are MOW clients about the meal service and the meaning of food and mealtimes. Design: A phenomenological approach using semi-structured face-to-face interviews which were digitally recorded and transcribed verbatim. Line-by-line thematic analysis was undertaken until saturation was reached and codes, categories and final themes were agreed by all researchers. Setting: Two MOW services in regional New South Wales, Australia. Participants: Forty-two older people who were clients of the MOW services. Results: Four main themes were generated: (i) capturing perspectives on the quality and offerings of the service provision, (ii) relating the broad range of factors influencing food intake, (iii) acknowledging the critical social role food plays, and (iv) illustrating the physical and mental constraints that can limit food access and intake. Conclusions: The findings demonstrated the value older people put on the MOW services and factors which influenced their health, including the social role of food and constraints on their access to adequate food intake. The findings highlighted important opportunities for MOW to develop their services and ensure the service meets the contemporary needs of an ageing population.