Nutritional requirements in old age
Aging is something no one can avoid. Old age is calm, expanded, relaxed, gives opportunity to do the things we want to do. But at the same time health issues can be obstacles in our enjoyment of life. Proper nutrition is very important as we grow.
Malnutrition is very common in old age & it gets affected by physical, psychological, social issues. As changes begin to happen I one area of a person’s life, most likely the other two will affect as well.
How we age is result of our diet, exercise, personal habits & psycho-social status. Dietary intake changes during the course of aging leading to acute to chronic complications, repeated hospital admission, functional disability, osteoporosis and late surgical recovery.
Physiological changes occurs slowly over time in the body system. These changes influenced by life events, illness, genetic traits. Some of these changes which affect nutrition in old age are
Loss of teeth
Reduced gastro-intestinal functions
Sensory changes affect the appetite in several ways. Diminished taste or smell takes away the appeal of many foods & may lead to preparing & consuming food that are no longer safe to eat like spicy food, fried items, sweets.
Loss of teeth causing chewing difficulties takes away pleasure of eating food. Modifying the consistency & texture of food helps to improve appeal, intake & acceptance of food.
Acidity, heart burn, constipation, flatulence are common problem in elderly due to reduced gastro intestinal functions. Balanced diet & small frequent meals can help in reducing these complaints.
Sedentary life style, social isolation, loneliness and depression affect oral intake leads to malnourishment.
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