Research type: 
Desk research
Year of report: 
Summary of findings: 

The older residents of Totley and Dore do not appear to have significant nutritional health problems, but access to dental services could be improved and for denture-wearers, this is affecting their diet. Whilst there is some evidence of very isolated older people who may be in need of support, this did not seem to be very prevalent. One exception in this community seems to be the need for widowers to receive help and advice about meals and diet. Findings from stage one would indicate that the more deprived communities of Sheffield have greater need.

In Darnall, the older members of the Pakistani population appear to be well looked after by their families and community. However, there is a real need to provide the women of these communities with practical and accessible help in preparing healthier meals at a realistic cost.

In addition, access to dental services seems to be very poor.

Both communities expressed a strong desire for more community facilities, as the social interaction is a key motivator. This was also a key finding from stage one of this project.

Commercial media opportunities are very limited across both segments.

Key recommendations

  • Develop an integrated ‘service pull’ and ‘customer push’ strategy
  1. ‘Service pull’ – develop a scheme that will help people identify those at highest risk, which can be implemented through existing channels across the range of service providers (HCPs, carers, community organisations / voluntary / charity workers)
  2. ‘Customer push’ – at a community level, educate ‘meal providers’ and older people about the importance of oral health and a healthy diet. Focus on how they can change what they do to improve diet and oral health. Make it fun and social to motivate.
  • Develop the intervention through a pilot study
  1. The barriers to behavioural change differ across different segments of older people. Therefore criteria for evaluation and success need to be tested and the ‘optimum’ intervention developed. Resources are also limited, so measuring effectiveness is key.
  • Review the current marketing of the Dental Helpline
  1. Whilst this is not a quantitative study of awareness levels of the Helpline, this project does raise questions about the effectiveness of the current activities publicising the Helpline to older people and to those who care for them.
Research objectives: 
  1. To understand the key factors that have a significant impact on the nutrition, oral and dental health of two communities – older, isolated people in Totley & Dore and older members of the Pakistani community in Darnall.
  2. Establish the most appropriate and potentially effective channels for communicating with older people about their nutritional and oral health needs.
  3. Understand the key issues and barriers to behavioural change.
  4. Make recommendations on the scope of a social marketing programme with the objective of improving the nutritional and oral health of older people living

The first stage of this research project focused on gaining insight from voluntary sector and HCPs who have understanding and contact with the insight audience.

This second stage focused on engaging with the insight audience itself, in two geographical areas as agreed with NHS Sheffield on 4 June – isolated older people in Totley and Dore and older members of the Pakistani community in Darnall.

The research was designed to inform the following social marketing objective: To change the shopping, cooking and eating habits of frail, housebound and vulnerable older people, in order to help them stay in good health.

Quick summary: 

Research to inform social marketing interventions which aimed to change the shopping, cooking and eating habits of frail, housebound and vulnerable older people, in order to help them stay in good health.

Audience Summary


Mixed (unspecified), and Pakistani


Majority aged 60 plus (many aged over 70, 80 and 90)

Social Class: 

Not specified



One-on-one interviews and group discussions were held with the following people / organisations:

  • Pakistan and Muslim Centre, Darnall – Mr Malik, Community Worker
  • Asian Elderly Caring Society Lunch Club – 22 males, aged 60 plus (majority 70 plus)
  • Open Door Luncheon Club, Totley and Dore – Maureen Cope, co-ordinator
  • Open Door Luncheon Club, Totley and Dore – 15 attendees, male and female aged 80 plus, many with some disability and most aged over 90 years

Desk research

  • POPPS Community Portraits, Darnall (Neighbourhoods & Community Care Directorate, Sheffield City Council)
  • TGI analysis of media channels applied to an over 75’s age profile
  • The Dental Health of Adults in Yorkshire and the Humber 2008 (survey results)

Additional HCP interviews

  • Meeting with Kate Jones and Zoe Marshman – Directors of Dental Public Health
Data collection methodology: 
Depth interviews
Focus groups
Sample size: 

41 respondents in total (the split between one-to-one interviews and group discussions was not specified)

Detailed region: 

Totley, Dore and Darnall; all in the Sheffield area

Fieldwork dates: 

Between June and August 2009

Agree to publish: 


Research agency: 
Sixteen Hands Ltd.