Malnutrition in Older Adults
Malnutrition can affect anyone, regardless of age. Those most susceptible are also those who are most vulnerable and reliant upon others—the very young and the very old. Charities targeting childhood malnutrition enjoy enormous successes, but unfortunately many times malnutrition in aging adults is entirely overlooked outside of academic circles. Yet, we all know that proper nutrition is vital for the immune system, cognitive function, and energy levels at any age.
Moreover, malnutrition in the elderly is a major cause for concern. It has been found that between 29 and 61 percent of all hospitalized elderly patients are suffering from malnutrition.
Why does it so often take hospitalization to discover malnutrition in older adults?
One main reason is that malnutrition often manifests itself in weight-loss, and older adults are prone to experiencing natural weight-loss due to an underlying illness, making a diagnosis difficult. The same is true for other symptoms of malnutrition which either have other common causes, or are the unfortunate side-effects of age—fatigue, slower healing times, difficulty concentrating, an inability to stay warm, and depression.
What are the underlying causes of malnutrition in the elderly?
According to an article in the Postgraduate Medical Journal, risk factors are broken down into four categories:
Medical factors, including poor appetite, pain when chewing, loss of taste and smell, respiratory disorders, gastrointestinal disorders, endocrine disorders, neurological disorders, infection, physical disability, drug interactions, and/or cancer.
Lifestyle and social factors, including lack of knowledge about food, cooking, and nutrition, isolation and loneliness, poverty, and/or an inability to shop or prepare food.
Psychological factors, including confusion, dementia, depression, bereavement, and/or anxiety.
Treatment factors during hospital stays, including food service with limited choices, slow eating and limited time for meals, missing dentures, requiring help eating, increased nutrient requirement during healing, limited provision for religious or cultural dietary needs, and/or missing meals during tests and procedures.
With so many risk factors, it is difficult to imagine that malnutrition in aging adults has gone unchecked, but because this population relies heavily on the kindness of others for their emotional and physical health and well-being, their suffering is often overlooked.
If you have a friend or loved one who may be at risk for malnutrition, particularly if they are regularly skipping meals, make sure that they are getting the nutrients they need to boost their immune system and remain healthy throughout their entire life.
Dead Sea Moringa has been proven to help combat malnutrition and would make an excellent nutritional addition to the diet of any aging adult.
Who Are We?
Dead Sea Moringa is a partnership between the evangelical community and the nation of Israel. The primary goal of Dead Sea Moringa is to produce employment, income, and revenue for humanitarian aid projects throughout Israel. Dead Sea Moringa has also recently partnered with an organization in Togo, Africa to oversee the cultivation and harvesting of Moringa, as well as its distribution to malnourished children in that region.