Care Certificate

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Nutrition and the elderly

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Nutritional Needs of the Elderly

Factors Affecting Nutritional Requirements

The elderly have distinct nutritional needs compared to younger individuals, influenced by various factors:

  • Reduction in muscle mass: Leads to decreased muscle strength.
  • Weakening immune system: Increases susceptibility to infections and illness.
  • Slowing organ function: Can result in issues like constipation and increased risk of diabetes.
  • Dental problems: Affect chewing ability and food intake.
  • Reduced sense of smell and taste: Diminishes appetite.

Other factors impacting their ability to eat well include reduced mobility, increased bone loss, financial constraints, and feelings of loneliness.

Daily Calorie Requirements

Caloric needs for elderly individuals decrease with age:

  • Men: Reduce from 2550 calories at age 59 to 2100 calories for those over 75.
  • Women: Decrease from 1900 calories at age 51 to 1810 for those over 75.

Prevalence of Malnutrition

Research indicates that up to 29% of people in residential care homes and 40% in hospitals suffer from some form of malnutrition.

Care Quality Commission Recommendations

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) oversees standards in residential homes and hospitals, offering recommendations to ensure the nutritional and hydration needs of the elderly:

  • Choice: Provide suitable foods and hydrations in sufficient quantities to meet individual needs.
  • Cultural considerations: Foods and hydration should accommodate religious or cultural backgrounds.
  • Support: Assist service users in consuming provided foods and drinks adequately.

Additional Support and Resources

Organizations like Age UK and other charities offer support and advice to those caring for the elderly.