Malnutrition and obesity in older adults
As we get older we may find ourselves with less appetite than in our younger days and/or we may find it becomes physically more difficult to eat, either in general or with regards to certain, specific types of food. The most obvious example of this is when people have false teeth, but people with conditions such as rheumatism and arthritis may also find it difficult to hold cutlery with enough grip to cut food into bite-sized pieces. At the same time, we often become less active and our metabolisms may slow. This means that while we still require nourishment, our calorie intake needs to be reduced to reflect the change in our lifestyles. We may also need to look at the practicalities of how we eat food, for example switching to softer foods, which need less cutting, biting and chewing and using sporks rather than the standard fork, knife, and spoon.
Calcium-rich foods are crucial
Older people need plenty of calcium for the same reason that children do - to maintain the health of bones and teeth. As we age, our bones naturally become more brittle and our teeth often fall out. Calcium can help to counteract this. While the most obvious source of calcium is dairy products, there are actually plenty of alternative sources for those who can't or don't want to eat dairy, for example green, leafy
Vitamin D is vital
Vitamin D is needed to regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in our bodies. Hence vitamin D deficiency can lead to serious problems with bones and teeth, such as rickets or osteomalacia. The main source of vitamin D is sunlight, but as we age, our ability to create vitamin D from sunlight decreases and also, we may spend less time out in the sun.
Red meat is a good alternative source of vitamin D, but, of course, can trigger other health issues. Therefore for many older people, the best sources of vitamin D
Oxley Home Care is an Approved Provider of Home Care Packages funded by the Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing (AUS), and they offer home care solutions and elderly care in metropolitan Sydney.