Older People's Health Issues - Nutrition and Hydration
Older people are highly vulnerable to nutritional deficits for many reasons. They are at risk due to changes associated with ageing that may be compounded by illness, disabilities, poverty, preferences, knowledge and access. Obesity, underweight, under-nutrition and malnutrition are all nutritional challenges in this demographic. Lack of choice and failure to individualise meals and nutritional planning was also found to compromise older people’s nutrition in both residential and community settings. Studies show figures as high as 44% for risk of malnutrition in community dwelling older people and between 23-85% risk rate for older people in residential aged care. But nutrition is just part of the issue. The act of consuming food goes way beyond providing energy and nutrients. Food and mealtimes are high on the priority list and strongly tied to quality of life for many older people.