Nutrition and Aged Care

Dementia, dining with dignity

Dementia, dining with dignity

By Renee Taylor - Speech Language Therapist Most would agree that food and mealtimes are deeply social experiences, which are embedded at the core of many religions and belief systems. They are part of our daily living and we simply couldn’t survive without them. Dementia is one of many degenerative neurological conditions that can affect the ease at which someone is able to enjoy or partake in a meal. This can be due to the physiological changes in swallowing, and also to the cognitive changes affecting the ability to perform the tasks that are usually required during mealtimes . This...

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What is the cost of malnutrition?

What is the cost of malnutrition?

Food. We literally can’t live without it! And for most of us, we wouldn’t want to either – the pleasure food brings us and the way food brings people together, is a building block of society. There are a number of reasons why people may not achieve their daily nutritional requirements and as a result become malnourished. For example, it could be due to difficulty swallowing, a loss of interest in food, disease or illness, pain, or even simply a lack of knowledge around appropriate nutrition. The national picture There’s not a huge amount of research out there that tells...

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Food Fortification & Malnutrition

Food Fortification & Malnutrition

Malnutrition, in the form of undernutrition remains very prevalent in New Zealand, especially in the older population (1). It is a problem that is often under-recognised and under-treated with grave consequences (2). Malnutrition is described as ‘a state of nutrition in which a deficiency, excess or imbalance of a wide range of nutrients results in measurable adverse effects on body composition, function and clinical outcome.’(2,3). It can lead to risk of poorer health outcomes such as poor wound healing, an increased risk of pressure injuries and loss of muscle mass which can affect balance and lead to falls and an overall...

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Food Fortification

Food Fortification

Enhancing our Meals with Food Fortification When you think about malnutrition, heart wrenching images of extremely unhappy looking, thin, bony and famished individuals come to mind. Some years ago, while working as the Chief Dietitian in a hospital in the Sultanate of Oman, I worked with many malnourished children with these exact signs and symptoms. Fortunately the treatment was simple, education on ways in which the child’s normal, culturally acceptable diet, could be enhanced to provide additional protein and energy.  This included food fortification in the form of reinforced milk using additional fats and carbohydrate, which supported these children to...

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Preventing Pressure Injuries – getting the basics right!

Nutrition and pressure injuries

Preventing Pressure Injuries – getting the basics right!

Each year in New Zealand, approximately 55,000 people experience a pressure injury [1]. While that may not sound like many people to you, the cost to the New Zealand taxpayer is huge at over $600 million per year [1]. Pressure injuries can significantly reduce a person’s quality of life. They cause significant pain, social isolation, reduced mobility, prolong hospital admissions and in the worse cases, can even lead to death [1]. Despite the doom and gloom, the good news is that research shows most pressure injuries are preventable! Good quality and timely healthcare means nobody should have to go through...

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