One in Four Elderly Americans are Malnourished – Are You Malnourished?

Older Americans with varying degrees of malnutrition are found throughout the community – in their own homes, in long-term care facilities and even in hospitals.  Some reasons for senior malnutrition include loss of teeth, a hard time getting to the grocery store, and lack of money.  In fact, for many older people it’s not a question of eating well, but of eating at all.  For others, disease, medication interference and dependence on others add to inadequate nutritional intake.

For older Americans, malnutrition can lead to lost weight and strength, lessened immunity to disease, confusion and disorientation, and exacerbated frailty and debilitation. Good nutrition plays a crucial role in keeping older people healthy and functioning.
Studies have shown that older adults at nutritional risk see the doctor more frequently, and have more hospital and emergency room visits.  And when in the hospital, their stays are nearly twice as long as those of well-nourished patients, resulting in much higher hospital bills.
For senior women, it is recommended they eat between 1,600 calories a day for low activity levels, and up to 2,200 calories per day for an active lifestyle (walking 3 miles per day).  Senior men should eat between 2,000 calories a day for low activity levels, and up to 2,800 calories per day for an active lifestyle (walking 3 miles per day).  The average daily calorie consumption is 2,000 calories.
So what does 2,000 calories of food look like per day?  Here is a general breakdown:
2 ½ cups of vegetables such as tomatoes, sweet potatoes, broccoli and cauliflower, etc.
2 cups of fruit such as one banana, half cup of strawberries and half cup of orange juice
6 oz of Grain foods such as one slice of bread, roll or muffin, or 1 cup of cereal, or ½ cup of rice or pasta.
3 cups of Dairy such as low-fat milk, 1 cup of yogurt or 1 ½ oz of cheese.
5 ½ oz of Protein such as seafood, lean meat and poultry, eggs, beans, peas, nuts and seeds.
6 tsp. of oil, use mainly polyunsaturated and monounsaturated such as olive or canola oil.

At any age, it’s important to feed your body a diverse amount of nutrients.  Of course you should always speak to your doctor about any food or diet restrictions they may have for any special conditions or medications that modify your food intake.
The Administration on Aging, through Titles III and VI of the Older Americans Act, administers the largest community nutrition services program for older Americans, the Elderly Nutrition Program.  This program provides nutrition services including meals, nutrition education and other services to mobile and homebound elders 60 years of age and older, with a preference to those in greatest economic and social need.
So where can seniors find assistance obtaining food?  Here are some nutrition resources for older Americans:
Congregate Meals Programs are government subsidized meal programs usually held in local community centers to provide reduced cost meals to seniors, an opportunity for socializing, and volunteer roles, which contribute to overall health and well-being of older adults.  Check with your local recreation center, church or senior center to see if they host senior meal programs in your area.
Meals on Wheels:
Oldest and largest membership organization supporting more than 5,000 Senior Nutrition Programs that operate in all 50 states.  Visit their website to search for a Meals on Wheels service near you.
Netgrocer online grocery store:
A grocery store online, delivers refrigerated, frozen, non-perishable groceries and health and beauty supplies direct to your door in 3-7 days. (Shipping charges apply)
A pioneer in the home delivery of food, now with a special program for AARP members!  They also offer modified diet foods such as gluten free, vegetarian, low sodium, heart healthy and more.
King Soopers/City Market Home Delivery:
Your local grocery store now allows you to shop from home and have your groceries delivered to your door.  Standard delivery fee is $10.95.  If you don’t have a King Soopers, check with your local grocer to see if they provide home shopping and delivery services.
Commodity Supplemental Food Program-Elderly – How to Apply: 
September 30, 2014 3:06 pm Published by