Throughout the last decade and into the current century the older population will continue expand in size and diversity. Individual older people differ greatly from one another in their nutrient requirements and need for nutrition services. The aging individual in good health who exercises regularly and takes few medications may have nutrient requirements that are similar to those of younger adults of the same sex, build, and health status. Conversely, the chronically ill elderly adult who is regularly taking a wide variety of drugs is likely to have increased need for particular nutrients as compared to his or her peers who enjoy good health. An active older persons living in the community who is able to obtain and prepare adequate meals will also need reliable sources of nutrition information to support self care, programs and services to meet his or her nutritional needs. The institutionalized elderly person is likely to need nutrient-dense, easily swallowed foods that provide substantial levels of nutrients. Each of these individuals presents a unique challenge to the professional responsible for nutritional care. Definition of Elderly:
A number of terms are used to describe people considered old, There are several and varying identities. Campion, 2004, identifies three categories of old. The ‘near old’ covering ages 55-64 years, the ‘young old’, ages 65-79 years and the ‘oldest old’ ages 75 years and over, sometimes the 80 years and over which is also designated the ‘frail elderly. The Aging Process:
Aging is a normal process that begins at conception and ends at death. During periods of growth, anabolic processes exceed catabolic changes. Once the body reaches physiologic maturity, the rate of catabolic or degenerative change becomes greater than the rate of anabolic cell regeneration. The resultant loss of cells leads varying degrees of decreased efficiency and impaired organ function. The Aging Process Generally involves slowing down of systems Varies greatly among individuals Influenced by genetics, environment, and lifestyle factors (Mahan and Escot-stump, 2006). Age-related changes that affect eating and nutrition include: Elderly people is faced with physiologic and social changes that are unique to aging these changes lead to a wide array of conditions that impair appetite, the ability to eat, and utilization of nutrients, resulting in an increase risk for malnutrition and nutrition-related health problems and decreased quality of life (Mary, 2003).
Physical Changes of Aging:
Reduced Perception of Thirst in Healthy Elderly:
Older people are more susceptible to develop problems with fluid and electrolyte balance due to physiological renal impairment and changes in thirst perception. Fluid Deprivation and repletion studies comparing younger adults with the older population have demonstrated that despite physiological needs, older people do not consume adequate amounts of fluids to maintain ideal plasma electrolyte concentrations. This impaired fluid and electrolyte balance is due to several factors, including reduced glomerular filtration rate, reduced ability to concentrate urine, less efficient sodium-conserving capacity, reduced ability to excrete water load and altered thirst sensation. Fluid intake in older people can be further affected by physical disability and cognitive impairment. Adverse effects of drugs such as diuretics, either by altering thirst or prompting dieresis, cause dehydration.
1.Changes in body composition:
Sarcopenia diminished muscle
Sarcopenia, refers to involuntary loss of skeletal muscle mass and consequently of strength (Holloszy, 2005). •Musculoskeletal Changes:
–Progressive drop in bone mass : 30’s and 40’s
–Women: accelerated during menopause
–Skeleton more vulnerable to fractures or osteoporosis
–Adequate intake of calcium and Vitamin D helps to retain bone. 2.Sensory Change:
Decreases in all...