Nutrition Services

Proper Nutrition in Old Age

Malnutrition is a common occurrence among the elderly population, since a high proportion of the elderly suffers from decreased appetite and reduced food consumption.

The implications of weight loss and malnutrition are numerous: decreased functioning and lowered ability to conduct daily activities, cognitive decline, weakened immune system, decreased ability to withstand infection, damage to the cardiovascular and digestive systems, depression, increased incidence of fractures and complications, increased incidence of pressure sores, and even death.

Changes in body composition occur in old age. With time, there is an increase in fat tissue and decrease in muscle and bone mass. The ideal Body Mass Index (BMI) changes as well.

Unlike in younger people, a low BMI in the elderly is a risk factor for disease and death and therefore the recommended range for BMI increases with age. A weight that is considered high at a young age is considered normal above the age of 65. There are no weight loss recommendations.

Many elderly do not get what they need according to the nutritional recommendations since they eat very little, eat nutritionally inferior food, and sometimes stick to strict and unnecessary diets, such as a low fat or low calorie diet. It is extremely important to identify these elderly and to refer them to ongoing nutritional therapy.

Ongoing Nutritional Follow-Up

Many elderly that arrive at the center also suffer from malnutrition, characterized by being underweight, pressure sores, low vitamin and mineral levels in the blood (like iron and zinc), low levels of protein in the blood, and so on.

The center’s residents undergo a nutritional assessment by an experienced clinical dietitian that specializes in the field.

The assessment includes a monthly weight follow up, follow up of food consumption for several consecutive days, follow up of lab test results, and the administration of nutritional supplements if necessary. The food served at the center is homemade and nutritious, includes a variety of meals, and meets Ministry of Health standards.

Many elderly suffer from swallowing disorders due to Alzheimer’s disease or due to a past stroke. Swallowing disorders require special attention to prevent aspiration, low food consumption, and deterioration in nutritional and overall health status.

The dietician works with the speech therapist at the center to conduct a swallowing assessment and adapt the food and beverage consistencies accordingly. The center has a team of skilled and experienced caregivers that is attentive to the residents’ needs and specializes in feeding patients with dementia.

The older we get, the less acute our sense of taste and smell is, which may cause decreased food consumption. Various studies have shown that in late adulthood, there is mainly a preference for sweet and for familiar flavors, foods we are accustomed to eating at home.

We encourage families to bring their relatives familiar food they love in order to preserve familiar tastes, and to increase food consumption and enrich their diet.

The staff of dieticians at the center is at your service to answer any questions or concerns you may have pertaining to your loved ones.