Nutritional challenges and opportunities in the most vulnerable— older adults living in residential care
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Although older adults living in long-term and other residential environments make up a relatively small proportion of the 65+ age group in Canada, they have specialized care needs and complexity that can result in high health care use and poor quality of life. Relatively little is known about this population in terms of their food intake, and the complex mechanisms that impair food intake, leading to malnutrition. Research does demonstrate however, that if nutritional status is optimized, morbidity, risk for mortality and quality of life are improved. Making the Most of Mealtimes (M3) is a research program focused on improving food intake in older adults in long term and residential care to promote not only improved health but also quality of life. A prevalence study has been recently completed that provides a foundation for intervention work. This presentation will describe the complexity of food intake in this vulnerable group and suggest a conceptual model that can drive innovation with respect to novel interventions. M3 has completed the most comprehensive data collection in the world, with respect to identifying determinants of food intake. These determinants are focused on the domains of meal access (e.g. Eating ability, dentition), meal quality (e.g. Nutrient density of menus, variety), and mealtime experience (e.g. Physical and psychosocial aspects of the dining experience). Data were collected from over 600 residents randomly selected from 32 long term care homes in four provinces. Preliminary data will be presented on food intake and key determinants. Opportunities for improving food intake, considering preliminary findings will be discussed.
Dr. Heather Keller
Schlegel Research Chair in Nutrition & Aging
University of Waterloo
Heather Keller, RD PhD is the Schlegel Research Chair in Nutrition & Aging at the University of Waterloo. Research programs cross the continuum of care and are focused on improving the nutritional status and food intake of older adults. As Chair of the Canadian Malnutrition Task Force (CMTF), Heather leads an inter-professional team mandated to promote the prevention, detection and treatment of malnutrition in Canada. Current projects include More-2-Eat, an implementation project designed to advance nutrition care practices in hospitals. Heather also leads the Making the Most of Mealtimes (M3) research group and a recently completed prevalence study identifies multifactorial determinants of food intake in long term care. Interventions to improve food intake for residents is also underway. Diet resilience focused on self-management and nutrition education for vulnerable adults in the community is her third area of research.
***Original Source: "2016 CNS Annual Conference", Saturday, May 7, 2016
Last Updated: May 30, 2016
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