Definition : lack of proper nutrition, caused by not having enough to eat, not eating enough of the right things, or being unable to use the food that one does eat. Insufficient intake can result in undernutrition or starvation and excessive intake can result in overnutrition and obesity.
Whilst most elderly people eat quite well, some have a poor intake of specific nutrients. Lack of mobility will reduce their appetite. Wearing dentures that don’t fit properly or having dementia can make things even worse. Living in a residential care home, the attention must be paid to make sure that the meals provided are what the residents want and like to eat. It is really important to make sure that meals are eaten, as people get older, they often don’t want to eat much. Food will need to be arranged in a nice way on a plate, to have a nice smell to encourage people to even try their food.
People need to be encouraged to have their meals sitting at the table with people that they know near them.
Although water is essential for all, the frail and elderly are most at risk from dehydration because they often do not drink enough. This is sometimes because they don’t know they are thirsty , that’s why is important for staff to monitor their fluids intake .
Also is very important for elderly people to have a balanced diet and to be encouraged to eat healthy food : eat more fruit and vegetable, eat more starchy foods such as bread, pasta and rice and to cut down on fat and sugar.
Types of malnutrition
Malnutrition can be defined as a disturbance of form or function due to lack or excess of calories or of one or more nutrients. This definition includes both obesity and undernutrition.
At least four related types of malnutrition affect elderly people:
* specific malnutrition, frequently associated with clinical disease, such as osteomalacia or scurvy;
* sudden malnutrition, resulting from marked