LTC residents at a higher risk of suffering anorexia of aging

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LTC residents at a higher risk of suffering anorexia of aging
LTC residents at a higher risk of suffering anorexia of aging
Roughly two-thirds of long-term care residents over the age of 65 experience unintended weight loss, also termed “the anorexia of aging.”

This puts residents at a higher risk of morbidities such as slowed wound healing, diminished cognitive and physical function and falls. It also is associated with an elevated risk of mortality, according to a study in the October issue of the Annals of Long-Term Care.

Reasons for unintended lowered caloric intake and appetite include age-related physiologic changes, chronic medical conditions, medication use, depression and social factors, researchers say. For example, African-Americans are much more likely to experience unintended weight loss, as are Hispanic women, according to the study.

Researchers contend that medical staff should assess residents for risk of developing “anorexia of aging” upon admission to a senior care facility, and that care plans should be created for at-risk residents.

“A complete nutritional assessment often requires an interdisciplinary team that includes caregivers in a position to observe the resident during mealtimes, the resident or his or her representative, and healthcare practitioners,”
writes study author Angela Champion, R.N. “Other experts who might need to be part of the team are a registered dietitian, a speech pathologist to investigate swallowing issues, a psychologist if depression is suspected and a pharmacist.”