Age Related Anorexia: Do Current Dietary & Nursing Interventions Do More Harm Than Good?

Submitted by Susan Madlung, RN, BScN, GNC(C) and Dr. Munider “Bobby” Nijjar, RD

Anorexia related to normal aging processes is a result of various anatomical, chemosensory, and biochemical changes that occur as our bodies’ age (Morely, 1997). Age related anorexia is a widespread concern in care homes and residential care institutions. Residents experiencing anorexia often require significantly more clinical time from care team members than other residents.

Current dietary and nursing practices in geriatrics attempt to address anorexia, as well virtual reality headset as the resultant weight loss and malnutrition, of the institutionalized older adult. However, these practices have proven to be ineffective on the whole. The study engaged in, argues that traditional dietary and nursing practices typically implemented to address anorexia may actually antagonize the natural preexistent condition, often resulting in social isolation and food and meal time aversions which further contribute to anorexia with resultant malnutrition and weight loss.

The purpose of this project was to introduce new practices based on a review of scholarly literature sbiancamento denti in the area of anorexia of aging. These innovative approaches to the management of anorexia can maintain or improve the nutritional status of older adults presenting with the signs and symptoms of age related anorexia. Several recommendations emerged from the literature reviews that have proven to be effective in minimizing the immediate impact of anorexia of aging.

In the initial case study, we found that implementing these recommendations significantly increased the appetite and wellbeing of the resident. Tolerance, duration and frequency of strengthening exercises increased significantly. After the 3 month study, the case subject appeared happier, more active and more content. A chronic wound (> 1 year) rapidly healed.

The findings of this literature review and subsequent recommendations are the beginning of a dialogue about how to best review and revise dietary and nursing practices in residential care settings to improve the effectiveness of managing age related anorexia.

In November, 2010, Bobby and Susan were invited to present the results of their literature research and case study at the American Dietetics Association Conference & Expo in Boston, Mass. Their work was well received with an audience of more than 500. They continue their research with a larger study underway in a long term care facility in West Vancouver, B.C. In this study they will also examine time factors related to the administration of the recommended interventions over current practices.

They can be contacted for further information at bobbynijjar@hotmail.com or susan.madlung@vch.ca and are available for consultations.