As we get older our sense of taste and smell can change which can affect our appetite and enjoyment of food.
People who lack good nutrition are at risk of malnutrition. Malnutrition is usually caused by not having enough to eat or not getting the essential nutrients you need to keep healthy. It's more common in older people and those with long term health conditions.
Malnutrition can cause:
- muscle loss
- weakness and fatigue
- poor mobility
- delayed wound healing
- increased risk of infection with a slower recovery
These could lead to a general deterioration in a person’s health and wellbeing.
Dementia and delirium can make these issues worse. The
Alzheimer’s society produce useful guidance and, though targeted at dementia, is applicable to nutrition in older people.
Encouraging people to eat
It is important to offer residents that you care for a varied diet that takes into account personal preferences. Simple things can make a big difference, such as:
- encouragement and help at meal times
- meeting cultural and ethnic needs
- using food aids
- creating a pleasant environment at meal times
- encouraging good oral hygiene
- making meals that look good enough to eat