Nutrition for the Elderly

Nutrition for the Elderly

This is a pretty detailed story addressing nutrition for elderly people. As an RN, I’d been educated in nursing school about the ageing process and what unique ailments the elderly population had. Nutrition for the elderly population was not part of the curriculum. Let me walk you through this so you can understand how nutrition fits in the ageing process.

In hospital practice, I didn’t truly appreciate issues with the elderly because hospitals are acute care, not chronic care. We knew the longer an elderly patient was in the hospital, the more likely they would become confused, progressively iller, develop complications, and often die. In total ignorance of elder care

Within the first couple weeks, I’d sent several patients to the hospital ER because of that ignorance! Uforia The first patient had a hard, hot, swollen, reddened area on her right calf. In acute care, that is a blood clot. It’s very dangerous because it can break free, go to the lungs, block airflow and cause death.

Nutrition for the Elderly

In chronic care, as in this case

  1. Memory Loss. It’s not a normal part of aging. There are plenty of elderly folks that have no problem with memory. There’s an abundant amount of information available to address memory loss. How is nutrition affected by memory?
  2. Eyes, ears, nose, mouth, throat. Vision dims, hearing is diminished, smells are different, there may be swallowing difficulties … mouth pain, tooth pain, dry mouth, and poor fitting dentures. Uforia How many times is nutrition for elderly provided in a can? Have you looked at the ingredients in those? Being milk based causes mucous production and increases difficulty with swallowing. Going out to eat is out of the question if you have trouble swallowing.
  3. Let’s get to the stomach next. As we age, everything slows. It takes longer for foods to digest. Many times, sweets are eaten first because taste buds change. What about a glass of lemonade or sweet tea? They sure won’t let you add salt to the food, so sugar it is.
  4. moving the food through the rest of the system, taking the nutrients out and expelling the waste, is slowed too. There’s a higher percentage of ‘transverse impaction’ in the elderly than any other population.
  5. What about that bladder? When your joints hurt, you don’t want to get up to go to the bathroom. So, you drink less water. Water nourishes the cells, carries nutrients in and wastes out.