Solutions for Older Adults
Malnutrition is treatable, but we must act now. With a rapidly growing population of Hispanic older adults and sharp increases in chronic disease, the value of proper nutrition at home, in the community and, especially in the hospital setting, has never been higher. Nutritional well-being and aging is affected by genetics, age, and gender. Living conditions, cultural traditions, and other elements, like socialization, also impact nutritional well-being. Prevention of malnutrition is the answer.
Where to Start …
Step 1: Plan diets for older adults that will meet everyday energy and essential nutrient needs. Begin with the ChooseMyPlate guidelines.
Step 2: Recognize that obstacles can interfere routinely with the best of plans for older adults to eat well.
- budget or transportation restrictions
- access to the quality of food and nutrients needed
- access to the quantity of food and nutrients needed
- physical mobility limitations
- lack of social engagement affecting eating habits
- taste, smell, and sight changes
- medication side affect
- impact of chronic conditions
- inexperience cooking for one or two
- mental health conditions including early stages of Alzheimers or dementia
Step 3: Take action when malnutrition becomes a threat.
Tips for overcoming obstacles:
- get a nutrition screening to detect malnutrition
- use oral nutrition beverage supplements in between meals or as meal replacements
- work with health care providers for diagnosis, treatment and more individualized solutions
- reach out to social service agencies and support organizations for additional local resources and assistance
Remember that older adults are most vulnerable to malnutrition when routine quality intake is not available, during acute health crisis events, and before, during, post hospitalization episodes. Support is available. For more information about food and nutrition services, malnutrition or support for caregivers, visit these websites: