Prevention of malnutrition in the elderly – part 2
Have they lost weight? A loss of more than 5% in three months or 10% in six months is indicative of an increased risk of malnutrition.
Have their appetite or food intake changed? The reduction in food intake or appetite increases the nutritional risk of malnutrition.
If the answer is yes to any of these questions then further evaluation is required.
How to deal with malnutrition?
Firstly, a balanced diet that provides the necessary energy and nutrients for a healthy person may not be sufficient when there is chronic malnutrition. In order to restore the nutritional status, dietary requirements may be increased compared to a healthy person with good nutritional status.
Often, people who are malnourished because of a disease cannot meet their nutritional requirements through diet alone. The nutrition challenge is partly due to the fact that many people suffer from chronic loss of appetite, and other factors that adversely affect the nutritional intake. In such cases, the diet may be enhanced by the oral ingestion of dietary supplements, products that are dense in energy and nutrients, as defined in the European Union as “food for special medical purposes”. An oral intake of food supplements of 200 to 400 ml can contribute significantly to meeting the needs of energy, protein and other nutrients, such as vitamins.
More and more clinical data highlight the nutritional, functional and clinical benefits of nutritional supplements, especially in acutely ill and elderly patients, while there is much official guidance on their use. Apart from the potential benefits of dietary supplements in health of the individual, cost advantages may also arise.
The term “malnutrition” often raises images of starvation, usually associated with third world countries. Nevertheless, many people do not know that poor nutritional status is also in areas with abundant food.
Remember that the identification and treatment of nutrition can promote good health, independence and increase longevity.
…this article is provided by www.tiptonhomecare.co.uk