Undernutrition in the elderly

Selon UFC QUE CHOISIR 450 000 to 700 000 elderly people are concerned by undernutrition in France.

Undernutrition is an imbalance between nutritional intake and the body's needs. Insufficient intake necessarily leads to tissue loss, particularly muscle wasting (amyotrophy). The body's ability to respond to certain aggressions (infections) is impaired, a decrease in autonomy, particularly in the elderly, and of course a loss of weight.

Unernutrition What are the risk factors?

There are several factors that favor the appearance of an undernutrition situation in the elderly.

  • Presence of neuropsychiatric or other diseases (Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's, cancer, heart disease...)
  • Decreased sensory perception: taste and smell, from the age of 50, these can be affected. Taste can be affected by certain medications or by zinc deficiencies.
  • Oral problems: sensitive gums and difficulty chewing can lead to a renunciation of foods that are rich in nutrients but difficult to chew, such as meat or raw vegetables.
  • Lack of physical activity: if there is no physical activity, the elderly person makes less effort and therefore feels less hungry and tends to skip meals.

How to prevent undernutrition in the elderly?

  • Enrich the diet: to avoid undernutrition, it is preferable to prepare protein-rich dishes with modified textures. It is also recommended to enrich meals, especially with milk and cream. This will improve nutritional intake.
  • Offer easy-to-eat textures: to compensate for chewing problems, ground meat, crumbled tuna, soup, etc. can be served. Enhance the taste of the dishes: undernutrition in the elderly may be due to a dulling of the taste. It is therefore necessary to spice up dishes with spices, condiments and herbs.
  • Enhance the taste of the dishes : la dénutrition de la personne âgée peut être due au goût qui s’émousse. Il est donc nécessaire de relever les plats avec des épices, des condiments et des aromates.
  • Engage in physical activity in order to produce effort and provoke the sensation of hunger.

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