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Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Graduate Nursing

First Advisor

Phyllis Gaspar


physiological effects of calcium, nutrition aspects of nursing home patients, older people nutrition


The purpose of this study was to determine calcium intake of elderly in nursing homes and to describe the factors associated with calcium intake. Orem’s Self-Care Model provided a conceptual framework for this study.
The literature review addressed calcium concerns for elderly, calcium concerns for elderly, calcium intake of nursing home elderly, and factors associated with calcium intake of nursing home elderly. The necessity of adequate calcium intake and the complexity of determining what is an adequate intake for elderly was noted. The controversy includes recommendations ranging anywhere from 500 mg to 1500 mg of dietary calcium for elderly. But determining what factors are associated with calcium intake to assure optimal “self-care’ has had limited study.
This study is a secondary analysis of Gaspar’s 1987 study which addressed the adequacy of water intake among nursing home residents. Descriptive data on each subject was gathered at that time, with the major task of performing a 24-hour food and fluid intake on all 33 subjects. Data for this study was obtained from that initial investigation including individual characteristics and the intake of calcium, phosphorus and protein. These select data were analyzed utilizing measures of central tendency, Chi Square, and Pearson Correlation Coefficient. Mean intake of calcium was 1067 mg. The factors found to contribute significantly to higher calcium intakes of nursing home elderly were: 1. higher intake of protein, 2. higher intake of phosphorus, 3. higher intake of milk and dairy products, 4. visual impairment, 5. Swallowing difficulty, and 6. Requiring assistance in feeding.
Nursing home residents are meeting the 800 mg RDA. The intake of milk and dairy products contributes significantly to that achievement. Nursing home residents with a level of dependence exhibited by visual deficit, swallowing difficulty, and feeding assistance will have an adequate intake of calcium.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Calcium -- Physiological effect
Nursing home patients -- Nutrition aspects
Older people -- Nutrition



Number of Pages



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