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Nutrition – A Critical Concern for Seniors in Canada

A study published by Statistics Canada in March 2013 has identified that there is an increased nutritional risk for Seniors in Canada. Some of the reasons for this increased risk are;

  • Seniors have a diminished appetite and impaired senses (most notably in their taste and smell)
  • Diseases and medications that Seniors take can interfere with the ability to ingest and absorb the nutrients
  • Seniors have reduced mobility in being able to shop or prepare the food
  • There are social and economic issues involved. Some of these are financial limitations, eating alone and no one to assist with the shopping and cooking
  • The ease that they can get to a grocery store also has an impact on whether they have access to nutritional foods (ie store location / affordability of public transportation)

What was interesting in this research is that along with the above, some new data emerged that wasn’t necessarily evident before. This new information was;

  • There is an estimated 34% of Canadians aged 65 or older who reside in private households that are at nutritional risk
  • They discovered that women (38%) are more likely that men (29%) to be at nutritional risk
  • If Seniors suffer from depression – the likelihood of nutritional risk is almost doubled (62%) when compared with people without depression (33%)
  • Social characteristics which included living alone, having low social support or infrequent social participation were also associated with increased nutritional risk

A lack of proper nutrition can contribute to significant consequences as we age. It can increase frailty, falls and hospitalization. Where and how we live are also contributors to our nutritional risks and we should consider these findings as we plan and manage not only elder care but our own future living arrangements as well.

You can access the whole research article here – Nutritional risk among older Canadians by Pamela L. Ramage-Morin and Didier Garriguet Statistics Canada report.

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