Wednesday, December 16, 2015
MANY SENIORS ARE MALNOURISHED
Six percent of the elderly who live at home in the US and in other developed countries are malnourished; the rate doubles among those in nursing homes, where it is 14%, according to a 2010 study. Malnutrition increases older adults’ risk of illness, frailty, and infection. Malnourished people visit the doctor and are admitted to the hospital more often, have longer hospital stays, and recover more slowly from surgery. Not surprisingly, financial hardship is a central cause of elder malnutrition. According to a 2014 report from the AARP Foundation, nearly 9 million older people in the US can’t afford nutritious food. About 25% of low-income adults 65 and older say they’ve reduced the size of their meals or have skipped meals because they didn’t have enough money. Many eligible seniors don’t receive food assistance. The AARP report found that only 13% of elders eligible for SNAP receive it. One way to increase assistance programs’ use might be to inform hospital patients about them when they are discharged. A recent survey found that only 6% of hospitalized elderly people received information about SNAP, and only 3% received information about group meals or meal deliveries to homebound seniors.
Source: WBUR, 11/26/15, Elder Malnutrition