8 ways to get older patients to eat better

The main nutritional challenge with an older person is to meet their higher nutrient — not energy — requirements.

It’s worth remembering that they require 20% more dietary protein than a person in their 40s.

However, achieving this is often a challenge.

Take my 75 year-old patient, Muriel. She knows she should eat better, but for her, that’s easier said than done due to a reduced appetite and early satiety.

Muriel also reports some loss of taste and smell, which means she isn’t enjoying her food the way she used to, and it probably contributes to her undernutrition.  

Muriel is typical of many of my older patients.

It’s also important to remember that older people are a heterogeneous group — not homogenous.  

In fact, as they age, they tend to become more dissimilar to their peers, which means nutritional advice must be tailored to individual needs.

Here are eight tips for helping your older patients meet their nutritional requirements: