Aged care nutrition importance
Nutrition in ageing population is just as important as in the younger community. Adequate nutrition is integral in aged care to ensure maintaining good health, muscle and bone strength.
Evidence shows that elderly people are more susceptible to being malnourished due to factors (nutritional and non-nutritional) inherent with ageing.
Factors include: chewing/swallowing difficulties, inability to feed oneself, decreased appetite, illness and psychological factors.
It has previously been estimated through a study targeting malnutrition and nutrition issues in aged care facilities found that 43.1% of those studied were moderately malnourished and 6.4% were severely malnourished.
How do we improve elderly nutrition?
To prevent this it is important to understand that as we get older our appetites and lifestyles change, which affects our nutrition and the foods we eat.
A decreased/reduced appetite or reduced ability source and buy healthy foods can mean that many older people are not enough nutrition from essential vitamins, minerals and fibre.
This can lead to deficiencies, general un-wellness and exacerbate or poorly effect chronic disease. It is important to maximise nutrition by consuming a diet comprised of meals and snacks rich with vitamin and minerals that aims to meet nutritional requirements present in the elderly population. Particular attention to be paid to calcium, protein, salt, energy and fluid.
To check your own or your family member’s risk of malnutrition, and ensure they are nutritionally adequate please contact your accredited practicing dietitian/nutritionist. They will be able to assist in menu planning, strategies to achieve nutritional adequacy in consideration of factors that may be preventing adequate intake.