Nutritional wellbeing of the Elderly
Name of Student
The elderly constitute a significant portion ofour society all over the world they tend to get categorized intothree subgroups.The young old who are those aged persons between theages of 55-74 years during the old-old consist of persons between theages of 75 years and above while those who are typically at the agesof 100 years get termed as centenaries. Different theories have triedto explain the phenomenon of how and why people age but none of themhas proved to produce satisfactory results. Nutrition is usually avery vital aspect of each and every individual, and the elderly aswell requires it for them to live healthily.
The nutritional requirements for the elderly donot differ much from those of the younger adults since the body tendsto depend on nutrition for it to sustain its functions which areusually not different across all ages. The ecological frameworkfocuses on four essential aspects or levels that range from anindividual level, relationship, community to societal levels and allthese have a role to play in how the elderly indulge in nutrition aswell as their nutritional well-being.
At this level, personal history, as well asbiological factors, tends to influence how people behave regardingobserving their nutritional needs. Also, as people age, multiplechanges occurs that affects their nutritional status as individuals,sarcopenia gets explained as the deterioration in muscle mass and canlead to weight gain in older individuals.The increase in body fatmight not be apparent by the measuring of their body weight but mayget noticed through loss of strength as well as functional declineand reduced endurance.
At the same level, xerostomia which is a decreasein the production of saliva tends to occur in the aged individuals.Also, the changes in dentition tend to alter their ability to chew,and this may lead to changes in food choices where the olderindividuals might prefer eating more liquid foods that eating robustand dense foods. Another change that tends to occur is usually adecrease in the secretion of gastric acids, and their effect is thatthey can limit the absorption of iron and vitamin B12 which if notobserved carefully might lead to pernicious anemia and irondeficiency anemia (Marrero & Carballeira.2011).
Due to aging, the peristaltic movement tends toslow down, and this is usually because intake of foods and fluids isdecreased .generally as individual ages, the need for food tends toreduce and sometimes, some cognitive changes tend to alter theperception of hunger( Oishi, 2012). Theoccurrence of thirst and appetite dysregulation tend to occur thatmight lead to early satiety as well as a blunted thrust mechanismthis might promote a well-dehydrated body in the elderly. Thelifestyle of an individual can affect the nutritional well-beingeither in a positive or a negative way for instance wealthy personmight engage in eating healthy thus having a good nutritional statusthan a person who just lives below the poverty line.
Personal relation level
In the ecological framework of personalrelationships, it involves families friends, intimate partners andpeers who might influence the nutritional well-being of an agingindividual, sometimes it reaches a point where the aged personscannot make decisions on what to eat due to some limiting factorssuch as the development of some disabilities.For example, thesepersonal relationships might promote good nutritional status for theaged person through the observation of a balanced diet by theindividuals taking care of him or her( Siffert & Schwarz,2010). If it is an intimate partner taking careof the aged individual, he or she might end up doing their best toensure that the elderly person receives better nutritional and thathis or her nutritional well-being gets catered for in a positivemanner.
Research shows that happy intimate relationshipwith a partner tend to resist to a positive well being and thismight also influence the nutritional status as happiness makes anindividual to indulge in proper feeding habits leading to safe andhealthy dietary observations. Also, a network of close friends inparticular among the aged individuals might promote a healthynutritional well-being as the aged might feel comfortable andencouraged to eat more when in the company of their friend or thosewho they feel connected to either emotionally, biologically or evenphysically.
Also, these relationships might promote theelderly individual to have a sense of belonging, and they might makehim feel comfortable and in the process improving his nutritionalwell-being. Also a healthy self-esteem that gets developed by theindividuals taking care of the aged person through showing him orher, how they actually care about them thus making them feel lovedand wanted might promote their nutritional well-being, in the sensethat, they might feel like part of the family or relationship(Yamada & Arai, 2012). It might prompt them toindulge actively in all activities including the observation ofhygiene and nutrition and, in the long run, this might promote theirnutritional well-being (Maayan & Lesmes,2012).
The availability of a balanced diet might helpthe older individuals towards the achievement of a nutritionalwell-being, this is because, when there is an absence in the diet,then they might not get an opportunity to access the food and thismight interfere with their nutritional status(Talukdar & Goswami, 2015).The oppositeis also true, that is, when there is an adequate supply of food andbasing on the various physiological changes that bring about hungerand satiety on the old individuals, they might end up indulging Iproper nutrition and in the process enhancing their nutritionalwell-being.
At this level, some social relations tend tooccur, and they can get developed either at school, in theneighborhood or even at the places of work and they tend to influencean individual’s nutritional well-being. Especially when a personstarts to age, nutrition is usually a very critical component that heor she requires maintaining his or her normal body function. Thelevel of education of the aged might influence their nutritionalstatus (Kaushal,  2013).
For example, if they are learned and know issuesabout a balanced diet and its importance, then they might indulge inhealthy eating habits thus promoting their physical well-being. Onthe other hand, if they lack sufficient knowledge on nutritional aswell as what constitutes a balanced diet, they might end up notindulging in healthy dietary thus interfering with their nutritionalwell-being.
As most individuals undergo the aging process,they tend to become dormant thus they reduce the intensity ofexercises that gets undertaken, this, in turn, makes them live asedentary lifestyle that may impact negatively on their health sincethey might feel satisfied all the time.As no energy gets utilized inactivities such as exercise and this, in turn, might have an adverseimpact on their nutritional well-being( LEVERTON,2009).
Some cultural practices might enhance thenutritional welfare of the aged that is some of them belong tocultures that emphasize on eating of indigenous foods rather than theindulgence in the eating of processed foods. They, in turn, leads toa well nutritional status in the elderly as they might avoid certaindiseases that tend to arise from the processed foods, diseases suchas heart diseases, hypertension and diabetes could get avoidedthrough the indulgence in the healthy eating habits as well as propernutrition. Sometimes the aged fail to have a say in the society andthe community context (Sherman, 2010). Theirnutritional well-being might get dictated by those who they interactwith, for instance, if the people they interact with indulges inhealthy nutrition, then they might end up doing the same thusfacilitating a positive nutritional well-being.
On the other hand, the individuals who interactwith the elderly and engage in bad dietary habits, especially thosein charge of taking care of these aged individuals. It might impactnegatively on the nutritional well-being of the elderly as they mightend up making them engage in eating unhealthy foods that might leadto nutritional problems for these aged adults.
Societal level ( Stoll& Anderson, 2015).
According to the ecological framework, this isusually the fourth cohort in its rankings, and it entails factorsthat exist within the society, and they range from economic. Socialpolicies that tend to maintain the social, economic inequalitiesbetween people and the some social and cultural norms that endorsethe nutritional status and well-being of the elderly.
The above factors tend to impact either negativelyor positively on the aging population. For example at the sociallevel, some of the practices that people tend to indulge in, mayimpact either negatively or positively in their good well being, asthe practice of taking alcohol especially to appoint where anindividual becomes addicted, they might end up hampering theirnutritional well-being through poor dietary habits (Ehrlich &Bipp, 2016).
The social, economic status of a person tends toplay a very vital role in the aging process that is individuals whoare well off in the society tend to lead a comfortable life thusmaking them have the privilege of indulging in healthy eating whichtranslates to a positive nutritional well-being. They can acquire allthe necessary foods they require, and also, their status prevents thehastening of the aging process as they tend to have access to betterhealth facilities and treatments thus making them lead a healthylife, unlike those aged persons whose social economic status isusually standard( Muntaner, 2014). Theytend to lead a more difficult life struggling to make ends meet andin the process they suffer from stress that makes them age faster.
Also, they lack access to better nutrition andbetter health facilities thus making their health situation todecline at a much rapid rate and in the process impacting negativelyin their nutritional well-being as they might have numerous illnessthat might interfere with their nutritional status. Some inequalitiesbetween people tend to bring about different methods and approachesto nutrition thus impacting either positively or negatively on theaging population (Annett & Berglund, 2014).
For instance, the aged who get termed as mentallychallenged might not indulge in healthy nutritional practices thusmaking them have a negative nutritional well being.Unlike the agedpopulation with ample and well functioning cognitive abilities whichmight have the knowhow on how to indulge as well as engage in anactive nutritional status thus promoting their nutritionalwell-being.
It is practically evident that each and everylevel of the ecological framework tends to impact either positivelyor negatively on the nutrition and welfare of the aging population,but this entirely depends on factors such as social, economicsituation, cognitive abilities, and the people they interact with thesociety.
Nutritional well-being of the elderly is usuallyan essential aspect and must get observe red with utmost vigilance asthey tend to suffer from various conditions that arise due to theirold age. For instance, they tend to have some disadvantages as agingmakes them weaker changing their perception of things as well astheir appetite and in the process( Lau, 2014). It might impact negatively on their nutritional well-being, andsometimes it might proceed to the extreme levels where some severeconditions might end up developing, and even worse deaths might occuras a result of inappropriate nutrition. So it is essential that themonitoring of the elderly on matters concerning they are nutritional,as well as physical well-being, get initiated through regularcheck-ups by a qualified physician to avoid any complications(Silva, 2014).
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