Nutrition for the elderly

Nutrition of older adults is an area that is underused when seeking to prevent disease and maintain health, but is becoming more important as this population grows. By the year 2030, older adults will account for one in five Americans. It is important to realize that the nutrient needs of older adults differ from younger adults. Practitioners should understand the aging process, look at its effects on nutritional status, and review diseases and conditions associated with aging and the nutritional implications of those diseases. Federally funded nutrition and meal services can help older adults meet their nutritional needs. This knowledge can assist practitioners in providing the best clinical care possible to help older adults maximize their nutrition status and attain the best quality of life possible well into old age.

The goal of this nutrition for the elderly continuing education course is to examine the health and nutritional requirements of older persons, and assess the potential effect of nutritional status on healthcare needs and quality of life to provide information to help clients, family, and friends maintain quality of life well into old age. After studying the information presented here, you will be able to:
-Describe the social, economic, and ethical problems of an aging population
-Discuss factors that govern biological aging, such as heredity, environment, and chronic disease
-Discuss the effects of ageing on major tissues, organs, and systems
-Explain how the physiological changes associated with ageing affect the needs for specific nutrients calories, carbohydrates, protein, fat, fibre, vitamins, minerals, and fluids
-Develop a diet that includes the dietary modifications indicated for those suffering from or at risk for cardiovascular disease and/or hypertension
-Explain why weight loss and sodium limitations are not always appropriate
-Explain the etiology, nutritional ramifications and treatment of: renal disease, osteoporosis, diabetes mellitus, cancer, and COPD
-List social, cultural, and psychological factors affecting dietary practices and nutritional status of the elderly
-Demonstrate how to determine protein-calorie malnutrition in older adults
-Describe the difficulties of, and procedures for, interviewing older persons
-Discuss anthropometric assessment methods, and their pros and cons as applied to older persons
-Explain which biochemical analyses are appropriate for the elderly
-Explain the impact of ageing on drug effectiveness
-Discuss federally funded nutrition support services available to older persons and their impact on older persons’ nutritional status
-Identify barriers that restrict older persons’ participation in available nutrition support services

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