As older people become malnourished and lose weight, their dentures may not fit correctly, making it even more difficult to eat. Swallowing problems also affect many older adults, making eating difficult. Loss of physical strength or mobility—Elders who are frail or immobile are often unable to shop and cook.
The Challenges of Healthy Eating
The good news is that many of the factors that affect an older person’s nutrition don’t have to impact health and longevity.
How Does Poor Nutrition Affect Us?
Hunger, malnutrition, and obesity are linked to a variety of health and societal issues, such as impaired development, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and allergies, as well as an environmental burden and impaired economic performance – to name just a few.
Barriers to healthy eating included lack of time and competing priorities; cost of healthy food; adjusting habits to favor a healthier diet; and geographic isolation. Lack of Time and Competing Priorities.
“One cause of frailty is the age-related loss of muscle mass,” Durso explains. Research suggests that activities like walking and easy strength-training moves improve strength and reduce weakness – even in very old, frail adults.
Arthritis or vision impairment can affect the person’s ability to open food packages and feed themselves. Pain and nausea may reduce appetite. Stroke and Parkinson’s disease can affect a person’s food consumption and ability to safely swallow and feed themselves.
Aging is linked to changes that can make you prone to deficiencies in calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B12, iron, magnesium and several other important nutrients. It may also reduce your ability to recognize sensations like hunger and thirst.
The Effects of Proper Nutrition on the Body
If the eyes are the mirror of the soul, then your skin is the mirror of your nutrition status. Healthy skin reflects overall health, and poor nutrition can contribute to factors that accelerate skin aging as well as age-related diseases such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer.
A person with undernutrition may lack vitamins, minerals, and other essential substances that their body needs to function. Malnutrition can lead to: short- and long-term health problems. slow recovery from wounds and illnesses.