Both the number and the proportion of older persons – defined as aged 60 and over – are growing in virtually all countries, and worldwide trends are likely to continue unabated.
Defining the Specific Nutritional
Needs of Older Persons
Older persons are particularly vulnerable to malnutrition. Moreover, attempts to provide them with adequate nutrition encounter many practical problems. First, their nutritional requirements are not well defined. Since both lean body mass and basal metabolic rate decline with age, an older person’s energy requirement per kilogram of body weight is also reduced.
The process of ageing also affects other nutrient needs. For example, while requirements for some nutrients may be reduced, some data suggest that requirements for other essential nutrients may in fact rise in later life. There is thus an urgent need to review current recommended daily nutrient allowances for this group. There is also an increasing demand worldwide for WHO (World Health Organization) guidelines which competent national authorities can use to address the nutritional needs of their growing elderly populations.
Malnutrition and Older Persons
Many of the diseases suffered by older persons are the result of dietary factors, some of which have been operating since infancy. These factors are then compounded by changes that naturally occur with the ageing process.
Dietary fat seems to be associated with cancer of the colon, pancreas and prostate. Atherogenic risk factors such as increased blood pressure, blood lipids and glucose intolerance, all of which are significantly affected by dietary factors, play a significant role in the development of coronary heart disease.
Eating well is important at any age. But health issues and physical limitations sometimes make it difficult for seniors, the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. population, to get the nutrients they need for a balanced diet. Poor nutrition and malnutrition occur in 15 to 50 percent of the elderly population. But the symptoms of malnutrition (weight loss, disorientation, lightheadedness, lethargy and loss of appetite) can easily be mistaken for illness or disease.
If you are a full- or part-time caretaker for an elderly parent or grandparent, there are plenty of steps you can take to help your loved ones maintain good nutrition as they age. The best ways to find out why your loved one isn’t eating well are to pay attention, look for clues and ask questions. Encourage him to talk openly and honestly, and reassure him that he is not a burden to you or anyone else.
Possible Causes of Poor Nutrition
Whether it’s because of physical limitations or financial hardship, many seniors don’t eat as well as they should. Arthritis can make cooking difficult, while certain medications can reduce appetite, making meals unappealing. A 1990 survey by Ross Laboratories found that 30 percent of seniors skip at least one meal a day, while another study found that 16 percent of seniors consume fewer than 1,000 calories a day, which is insufficient to maintain adequate nutrition. There are many reasons why a senior may skip a meal, from forgetfulness to financial burden, depression to dental problems, and loneliness to frailty.
Armour Oaks Meals are
Delicious and Nutritious
We here at Armour Oaks strive for the proper nutritional needs for all of our elders on campus. Our Executive Chef and Dieticians make sure our meals are not only delicious, but also nutritional.
To learn more or to schedule a tour of Armour Oaks Senior Living Community, please call us at 816-363-5141. When you’re visiting, make sure you stop and try a Parks cookie!
8100 Wornall Road
Kansas City, MO 64114