“Do not regret growing older. It’s a privilege denied to many” (Author unknown)
“The declines that occur with aging may be due at least partly to lifestyle, behaviour, diet, and environment and thus can be modified.” (Reference below)
Research shows that there are modifiable factors that contribute to premature ageing and the development of chronic age related diseases. It follows that preventing or reducing these factors is a good basis on which to improve the health of our elderly. It is estimated that 85% of our elderly who live in their own house present at least one disease that could be improved with appropriate nutrition therapy. (Ref)
It is understandable how circumstances cause our older generation to be somewhat malnourished – Often an elderly person is faced with the single life and there is little motivation to prepare meals. Widowed men, in particular, who may have been used to having their meals prepared for them, find themselves having to cope on their own without any food preparation or cooking skills.
On top of this, our elderly may be faced with chewing difficulties due to lack of teeth or ill-fitting dentures and gastrointestinal disturbances such as constipation, diarrhoea and heartburn. Diminishing sense of smell and taste coincide with the ageing process so it is harder to find nice tastes and flavours. Medications may also present problematic side effects / adverse reactions.
A nutritional therapy session aims to take into account all of these lifestyle factors that influence the diet and subsequent health of the individual. It is about acknowledging these challenges that come with age and, cooperatively, figuring out a way to improve nutritional status in manageable and practical ways. Such a “client centred” approach contributes to mood enhancement, to general health and to the overall quality of life of the individual.
Nutritional therapy contributes to the management of age related conditions such as dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, osteoporosis etc.
Reference: Merck and Co (2006) Biology of ageing. The Merck Manual of Geriatrics. [online] Available here (Accesses November 12 2015)