Help available for elderly at risk of malnutrition

Help is available for Tameside and Glossop residents over the age of 65 who are malnourished or at risk of malnutrition.

Now more than ever, due to unforeseen difficulties faced due to the coronavirus pandemic, malnutrition and dehydration pose a threat to older people who are not eating and drinking enough to maintain their health and wellbeing.

Many older people and those with serious health conditions, that raise their risk of malnutrition, are without access to their usual support networks.  Some people may not have been able to get out so often, or are feeling less fit and able, or are worried about winter, the approaching flu season and what will happen with the coronavirus.

Tameside Council and NHS Tameside and Glossop Clinical Commissioning Group say they want residents to recognise and understand the risk of undernutrition and dehydration in later life.

Support is available so that people know how to screen themselves, loved ones and those being looked after; know what to do to prevent malnutrition; and know what to do if anyone has concerns about someone who has experienced unplanned weight loss. 

It supports Malnutrition Awareness Week (5-12 October 2020) led by The British Association for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (BAPEN) together with Malnutrition Task Force (MTF).

Many people believe it is normal to lose weight as you get older but, in fact, unplanned weight loss in later life may be a sign that someone is malnourished or at risk of malnutrition. Significant, unplanned weight loss can make a person more likely to get ill or have a fall.  It may also slow down recovery time from any illness or surgery.

Some people may be at particular risk if they have an ongoing health issue, or if they struggle to shop or cook for any reason. Other things that may put someone at risk are loneliness, experiencing a reduction in essential care and support services, or not being as physically active.

Tameside Council’s Executive Member for Adult Social Care and Population Health, Councillor Eleanor Wills, said: "Anyone worried about their unplanned weight loss should seek medical advice from their GP or practice nurse, and if they are worried about someone else have a conversation with them and encourage them to speak with their GP or healthcare professional." 

For more information, tips and advice on malnutrition and dehydration, or how to join the conversation throughout the awareness week, search Malnutrition Taskforce or search Malnutrition Awareness Week BAPAN.

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