Factors Affecting Adequate Nutrition In Elderly Individuals
There are a number of factors that manifest in older age that may adversely effect nutritional status and promote significant weight and muscle loss. This weight loss, or anorexia of aging, is associated with further deterioration in nutritional status, increased hospitalization and disease rates, and premature death.
Factors influencing nutritional status in elderly persons may be divided into three categories: psychological, social, and medical. For instance, psychological disorders such as depression and dementia are highly correlated with loss of body weight in nursing homes and are the major causes of weight loss in free-living elderly individuals. In addition, numerous studies have suggested that social isolation, low socioeconomic status, and poverty are also associated with reduced dietary intake and weight loss. Moreover, numerous medical factors such as the use of prescription medicines, poor dentition, institutionalization, a decrease in taste and smell sensations, and an inability to regulate food intake have all been suggested to decrease appetite and adversely affect nutritional status in older adults.