With this in mind, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has put “healthy ageing” on its agenda.
- With this in mind, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has put “healthy ageing” on its agenda.
- However, there is a difference between energy requirements and nutrient requirements, and nutrient requirements actually remain the same, if not increase, as we get older.
- This means we need to get more nutrients into less energy which can be tricky as older adults often have lower appetites.
How to spot when someone isn’t eating enough?
- However, it affects five in ten older people living in nursing homes, and seven in ten older people in hospital.
- And when older adults lose weight, they lose muscle, meaning that they are more likely to lose their abilities to do daily tasks.
- But clothing that’s too loose or a watchstrap that floats on the wrist are all warning signs of undernourishment.
Getting more nutrients into less food
- If people are eating small amounts of food, it is important to think about how to add more nutrients into it.
- A very effective technique, “fortification” is commonly done with pre-made products such as breakfast cereals, plant-based milk and bread in the UK.
- This versatile ingredient can be mixed into porridge before cooking or used it as a substitute for other powdered ingredients in baking.
Importance of physical activity and strength exercises
Physical activity and nutrition go hand-in-hand – both are equally important. As we age, being physically active becomes even more essential as it helps to prevent disease, maintains independence, decreases risk of falls, improves cognitive function, mental health and sleep.
- Often strength training gets ignored when we think of being active but to keep independence and prevent falls, older adults should do varied physical activity that emphasises balance and strength training at moderate or greater intensity on three or more days a week.
- Ultimately, it’s essential to contact a doctor or dietician with any worries or concerns about malnutrition or unintentional weight loss.
- Miriam Clegg receives funding from the Medical Research Council, Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, EIT Food, Horizon 2020, Apetito, and Tanita Healthy Weight Community Trust.
- She is affiliated with Association for Nutrition.