As the saying goes, “health is wealth.” This line gives due importance to well-being and having a healthy body. This is because good health is necessary in order for any individual to do their everyday activities. However, as an individual grows older the functions of his or her body parts tend to deteriorate. Due to this, it is essential that every individual should properly take care of his or her health in order to prevent diseases especially chronic ones that could fatally damage their bodily functions and make it difficult for them to ho about with their normal activities. In line with these, this paper will discuss the deficiencies in elder Americans. Moreover, it will focus on the physiological and psychological issues for eating in elders. Lastly, the paper will also identify the strategies that could be applied in order to address these health issues that are related with elder Americans.
The common nutritional deficiencies of elder Americans tend to have conflicting data as this condition is largely dependent upon the variations in urban, rural, ethnic, and economic variables. Nevertheless, most studies show that there are general patterns of deficiency that exist. The findings prove that calcium appears as the common denominator that is deficient in most elder Americans. Calcium is followed by Iron and Vitamins A and C as the next most common deficiencies. The problems related with nutritional intake tend to increase as individuals grow older (Gelfand 130).
There is observable wide range of causes that could attribute to the situation that older individuals have poor nutritional diet. Due to this, it is necessary that health professionals and care providers should be constantly informed of the factors that are needed in order to maintain an optimal nutritional health status for elderly individuals, which includes physiological and psychological factors. After the age of fifty, individuals experience many metabolic and physiological changes that affect their nutritional needs. The metabolic rate of an individual can slow down and decline as mush as thirty percent over his or her entire lifetime. Due to this, there is an observable decrease in caloric needs that could lead to complications as an older person has difficulties balancing food intake and energy needs. Despite the fact that there is a decrease in caloric need, there are still many elders who have insufficient calories that could cause chronic fatigue, depression, and a weakened immune system. Furthermore, as an individual grows older his or her body composition also changes because there is a decrease in lean tissue mass that could amount up to 25% together with an increase body fat. This kind of changes could even accelerate because elder people use dietary protein less. As such, they need more amount of high quality protein in their nutritional diet in order to maintain their lean tissue mass. These abovementioned changes in the metabolism and physiology of elder people could lead to further complications coming from digestive difficulties, oral and dental problems, and medication-related eating as well as nutrient problems (“Good Nutrition is Ageless”).
Aside from the physical and nutritional factors that affect the nutritional deficiencies of elders, there are also psychological factors that should be given sue attention. These psychological factors include loneliness, depression, economic concerns, and the fear of many high qualities, nutrient dense, affordable foods. These factors contribute to elder people’s nutritional risk because they consume less food, which is needed for them to meet their needed energy and required bodily functions (“Good Nutrition is Ageless”).
These nutritional issues among elder people should be properly addressed. A good strategy that could be implemented is through programs and projects that promote good nutritional diets among elder people. The public and private sector should collaborate with each other in order to promote information dissemination about having proper nutritional diets for elders. In connection to this, they should also have outreach programs for those elder people who are at or below the poverty line. They should give food supplements and vitamins to those that cannot afford it. Lastly, the healthcare system should also be improved and community healthcares should also to their part in improving the nutritional diets of those within their area of responsibility (Gelfand 132-133).
Gelfand, Donald E. The Aging Network. New York: Springer Publishing Company, 2006.
“Good Nutrition is Ageless.” 2004. Egg Nutrition Center. 12 May 2009