As you all know it, nutrition deserves special attention for the people who reach old age and is very essential for good health. In spite of the growing awareness of the importance of nutrition for a good and healthy life, malnutrition is still a widespread problem among older people, who are hospitalized, live in a nursing home or need home care services. It has been estimated that about 50 % of this group have a low BMI due to low calorie and protein intake. Furthermore, the lack of important vitamins and minerals is typically found in this population group of elder people.
Consequences of malnutrition
Malnutrition, however, is not only found among older people but also among people with different kinds of illnesses, e.g. severe infections or rheumatoid arthritis, along with the illnesses of gastroenteritis, etc. The problem is widespread, and it is estimated that up to 30 percent of patients at hospitals are suffering from malnutrition, while 20 percent are at risk of malnutrition when they are admitted to the hospital.
Malnutrition trails a number of serious consequences, among others ill-health, sarcopenia, reduced quality of life, and increased need for help and support in daily life. An unrelenting focus on nutrition is therefore required in the care sector and a diet with high protein and energy (especially fat) and frequent meals can help mitigate the problem. At the same time, physical exercise can help sustain and build muscle mass.
What are the remedies?
Reduced appetite is the most frequent cause of malnutrition. Always consult a doctor to determine the reason for the reduced appetite that may be caused by illness, fatigue, or old age. When the appetite is weak, dietary supplements can ensure healthy and sufficient nutrition. Swallowing difficulty is another cause of malnutrition. The use of thickeners can help achieve the right, easy-to-swallow consistency of the food and/or beverage. More or less permanent nausea is another reason for the loss of appetite. If tube feeding is required, nausea may be reduced by the use of an enteral feeding pump, more frequent meals, or a change of products.
The real issue in today’s world is actually money. Food can be easily available for the people, rich and poor alike, but people can’t afford it. Today’s world actually needs real development and income-generating projects. This will be very beneficial for the poor, who face the most of the problem of money, and hence, the problem of malnutrition.