Elderly Malnutrition


elderly malnutritionNutrition is a key factor in the aging process and a significant contributor to future health, helping to maintain good health and reduce the risk of chronic disease. Malnutrition in the elderly further increases an individual’s risk of naturally developing general poor health or chronic diseases.


With ever-increasing life expectancy comes an increased risk of health problems and illnesses, many of which can be prevented, delayed or improved by maintaining a healthy diet. The elderly diet is influenced by several internal and external factors. Some of these factors can influence the environment of the elderly population, which has been shown to have a significant impact on nutrition. If an elderly person is residing in a hospital or care home facility, it has been shown that they are more likely to have a poor nutrition status compared to a community-dwelling elderly person.

Unique Nutrition Needs for Ages 60+

Eating healthy has benefits that can help individuals ages 60 and up.


 Enjoy a variety of foods from each food group to help reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease. Be sure to choose foods with little to no added sugar, saturated fats, and sodium.

 Get enough protein throughout your day to maintain muscle mass.

 Focus on the nutrients you need, including potassium, calcium, vitamin D, dietary fiber and vitamin B12.

 With age, you may lose some of your sense of thirst. Drink water often. Low- or fat-free milk, including lactose-free options or fortified soy beverage and 100% juice can also help you stay hydrated. Limit beverages that have lots of added sugars or salt. Learn which beverages are healthier choices.

 Maintain a healthy weight or prevent additional weight gain by following a healthy dietary pattern and adopting an active lifestyle.

 Learn how much to eat from all five food groups and find out how many calories you need each day to help you maintain energy.

Nutrition Tips for Ages 60+

Eating habits change throughout the life span. Simple changes can help you enjoy the foods and beverages you eat and drink to meet nutrient needs, help maintain a healthy body weight, and reduce the risk of chronic disease.


 Try adding seafood, dairy or fortified soy alternatives, along with beans, peas and lentils to your meals to help maintain muscle mass.

 Add fruits and vegetables to meals and snacks. Look for frozen, canned, or ready-to-eat varieties if slicing and chopping is a challenge.

 Make eating a social event. Meals are more enjoyable when you eat with others. Invite a friend to join you or take part in a potluck at least twice a week. A community center or place of worship may offer meals that are shared with others. There are many ways to make mealtimes pleasing.

 The ability to absorb vitamin B12 can decrease with age and the use of certain medications can decrease absorption. Eating enough protein and fortified foods, such as fortified cereals, can help you meet your vitamin B12 needs. Speak with your healthcare provider to determine what, if any, supplementation is right for you.

 If you use or are considering taking dietary supplements, it’s important to track and discuss all dietary supplements with your healthcare provider to determine what is right for you. This includes beverage supplements which can be a source of added sugars.