PROBLEMS OF ELDERLY(OLD AGE)
The elderly are at risk of poor nutrition due to economic pressure, poor
dentition, aging tissues and inadequate diet, which may be compounded with the
incidence of chronic disease. The commonly prevalent nutrition related problems
among the aged include;
Osteoporosis is characterized by decreasing bone mass and density. As a
result the bones become porous, light and fragile becoming more vulnerable to
fractures. The incidence of osteoporosis is more common in women after
Many of the elderly are obese. They fail to make adjustments in their
energy intake corresponding to decreased energy needs.
Anaemia characterized by feeling of fatigue, anxiety, lack of energy is
common. Iron inadequacy is caused by low dietary intake, decreased absorption
or lack of haem iron, vitamin C or blood loss.
Pernicious anaemia due to vitamin B12 deficiency is common
among elderly women. The diet for elderly should include foods rich in haem
iron and vitamin B12.
The causes of malnutrition during old age are
cumulative effect of chronic disease and
knowledge in preparing meals adequate to meet their needs
Aging disturbs the natural rythmic contraction of colon due to
loss of tone
lack of exercise
low fibre diet
insufficient fluid intake.
These result in constipation. Excess use of laxatives or enemas may also
6. Diabetes Mellitus
The incidence of Non Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus (NIDDM) is
increased due to impaired glucose tolerance and decreased sensitivity of cells
The incidence of hypertension and other
cardiovascular diseases like atherosclerosis, acute myocardial infarction,
angina pectoris, and congestive heart failure is high due to changes in cardio
vascular function. These may impose dietary restrictions, change in texture of
diet and use of diuretics and hypotensives. These inturn may affect the dietary
intake and health of the individual.