Food and Drink Packaging and Older Adult's Function and Dexterity
(2015) Food and Drink Packaging and Older Adult's Function and Dexterity, no. 49.
Introduction: With advancing age comes deterioration in function and dexterity. Due to the increase in longevity it is important to assess the older population's ability to open food packaging to ensure that they are capable of completing this daily task effectively and investigate how this can influence their nutritional status. Aims and Objectives: The main aim of this study is to measure the functional ability of older females (65 years and over), along with levels of dexterity and assessing the impact of these parameters on the participants ability to open commonly used food and beverage packaging. Methods: Older female adults were recruited from a range of locations across Edinburgh. Functional ability was measured using the Jamar handgrip dynamometer, along with levels of dexterity using the Nine Hole Peg Test. In addition to this height, weight and the time taken to open food and beverage packaging was also measured. Pearson's correlation coefficient analysis was used to establish whether any relationships existed between functional ability, levels of dexterity and time taken to open commonly used food and drink packages. Pearson's correlation was also used to demonstrate whether there was any association between age, functional ability and levels of dexterity. Results: No significant results were obtained (p=<0.05), however, results of correlation analysis found that associations occur between levels of functional ability and ability to open food and drink packaging. Also, association was evident between levels of dexterity and the time taken to open food and drink packaging. Conclusion: This study does not present altogether conclusive results. However it does demonstrate a weak association between older females' functional ability, levels of dexterity and their ability to open commonly used food and beverage packets. It suggests that as handgrip strength increases, the length of time taken to open food packaging decreases. The study also concluded that the better the participant's dexterity the quicker and more able the subjects were at opening food packaging. An association between BMI and handgrip strength was also illustrated in this study. Keywords: older adults, handgrip, food, function, dexterity, packaging.