Elderly People Research Paper

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Elderly people aged 65 and over are one of the most widely affected groups by malnutrition in Australia. It has been estimated by the University of Wollongong that around 30 percent of hospitalised elderly Australians are malnourished, while another 50 percent are at high risk of malnutrition. General deterioration of physical and mental health from ageing can result in malnutrition. In combination with this, changes in lifestyle for elderly people often lead to loneliness, boredom and worry, prompting a worsened diet. Elderly people often experience physical changes in the body which can result in low levels of necessary nutrients. Up to a third of the elderly suffer from a lowered ability to secrete hydrochloric acid, preventing the absorption of vitamin B12 and folate, and reducing calcium and iron retention. Because of this, the elderly may be at higher risk of osteoporosis and anaemia. Menopausal women are also at risk of developing osteoporosis because oestrogen production is decreased and calcium can be lost more easily. At least 30 percent of bone mass can be lost by the age of 70 due to insufficient amounts of calcium, adding to the incidence of fractures. Lowered ability to chew because of dental problems may cause…show more content…
It is important to manage any medical conditions that could be contributing to malnutrition. Elderly people should be screened for dementia, anxiety and depression, since these illnesses can often contribute to lowered motivation and ability to prepare nutritious meals. Polypharmacy - when three or more prescription medications are taken - should be reviewed regularly in case any medications are causing loss of appetite, nausea or constipation. Oral health should be checked and regular visits to the dentist should be encouraged. Chronic conditions such as dysphagia, gastrointestinal diseases and hypermetabolism must be addressed to improve

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