Malnutrition Numbers Increase in the Elderly

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Number of older people diagnosed with malnutrition trebles in a decade

by Amelia Hill/The Guardian

The number of older people diagnosed with malnutrition has more than trebled to almost 500,000 in the past decade, according to research.

More than 1 million people aged 60 and over – one in 10 – are either malnourished or at risk of malnutrition, the NHS Digital figures showed.

But because the vast majority of these people – 93% – live at home, their malnourishment often goes unnoticed. The independent Malnutrition Task Force have said that Christmas is an ideal opportunity to spot the signs that people might be struggling to eat enough to keep themselves well.

“It is shocking that 1.3 million older people suffer from or are at risk of malnutrition in our country and the root of the problem doesn’t just lie with poverty,” said Dianne Jeffrey, the chair of the Malnutrition Task Force.

“There are other contributing factors which add to the risk. Public health messages that don’t always relate to this age group; a lack of ability to shop, eat and drink at home without help. As well as loneliness and isolation, grief and bereavement, poor physical and mental health or a lack of awareness of the risks by health and social care staff,” she added.

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