Nutritional Problems in Older People


Malnutrition is an all too common problem in older people which can be prevented with the right knowhow. The dietary requirements for older people are not well defined, therefore knowing if an older person is at risk of malnutrition proves difficult. As we grow older, our basal metabolic rate is reduced, thus our energy requirement decreases. Our nutritional needs are affected by the process of ageing, with some nutrients needed to be increased (vitamins and minerals) and some reduced (fat). There are many factors that impact on the nutritional status of an older person that can be categorised into four main areas: natural occurring from ageing such as a reduction in the ability to absorb nutrients, disease specific conditions such as cancer, drug interaction with nutrients and social influences such as isolation and reduced mobility.

Many of the diseases that are associated with older people such as degenerative disease like cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease are linked to dietary factors, therefore maintaining a good nutritional status is key to coping with illness. Sustaining a healthy balanced diet might seem a simple solution to combating many diseases that affect older people. However there are other factors that contribute to be the cause of malnutrition that Carers can look out for. The ability to taste declines with age, therefore some of the food we consume can become bland and uninteresting. One way to combat this is to try and incorporate herbs and spices into food, or lemon juice, to flavour the food we eat, but avoid too much salt. Or maybe try foods with strong tastes. As well as taste, eating alone or depression caused by loneliness or bereavement can also cause a lack of interest in food and a reduced appetite.

Carers can help older people explore possible lunch clubs, eating with other older people or with the Carers themselves or by choosing a variety of different foods from day to day to keep them interested and making meal times an event. As our appetite decreases with age, older people should try eating small appetising meals and also calorie-rich snacks in between meals to boost nutrient intake. Some ways to increase your calorie intake is to try and eat desserts once or twice a day such as sponge with custard, trifles or ice cream, add cheese to sauces or butter and milk to potatoes and vegetables. However, some older people might have a perfectly good appetite but difficulty chewing their food.

As a Carer, it is important to look out for this as there could be a simple solution by contacting your Client’s dentist to ensure their dentures fit correctly. On the other hand, if they have a sore mouth or lack of saliva then get them to speak to their GP. As a Carer looking after someone who is at risk of malnutrition, making batches of food such as stews and freezing them into portions, can really help as well as making sure they have enough food in their cupboards and that the food is of interest to them. Nowadays we can get our shopping delivered to our door, so helping your Client order their shopping online could be an idea.

Otus live in carer can find a Live in carer who can help you cook or cook for you healthy nutritional food or indeed what ever you wish. They can also help you retain your feeling of community and wellbeing, as they are able to accompany you to your social groups, church or family events. Having a live in Carer also provides peace of mind for you and your loved ones that you are being cared for on a one to one basis, by someone who shares your interests and pastimes. This type of personally centered care is particularly good for those suffering from dementia type diseases, as everybody’s symptoms and needs are individual. 

A Personal Live in Carer can provide you with their time and experience 24 hours a day, seven days a week.   Live in Carers can be introduced to provide care in both the short or long term as well as respite care at home.

Otus live in Care introduces live in cares to clients to meet specific preferences and requirements. To find out more about how a Personal live in carer can help you retain your independence and remain in your own home, please visit our website at Call 01403 878043 or email or use this link


All content within blogs post and other information provided by Otus Live in care are provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or  other health care professionals. Otus Live in care is not responsible or liable for any diagnosis made by a user based on the content of Otus Live in Care, and is not liable for the contents of any external Internet sites listed, nor does it endorse any commercial product or service mentioned or advised on any of the sites.  You should always consult your own GP if you’re in any way concerned about your health.


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About otuspaul

Paul Isaacs - Managing Director of Otus live in care . An experieced leader in the Health and social care sector as Operations Director with both Nestor Healthcare group PLC and Saga Homecare. With knowledge and experience of private care and domilcillary social care. All views expressed are his own views.

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