Preventing malnutrition in later life

Boosting nutrition in Brighton

Eating well to stay healthy as you age

Every so often we spot a great initiative on the ground to tackle undernutrition.

The latest we’ve spotted comes from Brighton, where Age UK Brighton and Hove and the Brighton and Hove Food Partnership have partnered to produce a handy booklet. ‘Eating well to stay healthy as you age’ aims to prevent and tackle malnutrition and is tailored to local older people and their carers.

The idea

The idea for the booklet began in 2016. Age UK Brighton and Hove was commissioned by the local Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to carry out research on healthy eating and malnutrition with people aged 80 and over who may have been socially isolated and whose views were underrepresented.

One of the key recommendations from the research was to produce an information booklet to raise the level of knowledge amongst older people, and their carers and families, of the impact of malnutrition.

In addition, a recent Brighton and Hove Food Partnership report on healthy ageing and food found that locally there was a real lack of knowledge about the nutritional needs of older people, how this changes as you get older and where to go for advice and information.

What’s in the booklet?

The booklet aims to tackle some of these knowledge gaps. Simple to follow, it outlines what malnutrition is, how to spot the key signs in an older person or someone they care for, what to do if worried, and ideal food to eat, like full fat, to combat malnutrition.

It also lists the local bodies which can help with nutritional needs, including lunch clubs and community cafes. A new Casserole Club which has just launched in Brighton is featured as well. The Club matches volunteers who enjoy cooking with other locals who would benefit from a meal and friendly chat, and it’s really positive to see a service like this which can tackle malnutrition and loneliness taking root here.

It’s so great to see a booklet like this being produced and it’s equally great to see the local CCG funding the project. Launching the booklet at a local pub, Jane Lodge, a representative for the CCG, spoke and reiterated the Malnutrition Task Force’s view that the stereotypical view of a little old lady with rings falling off reinforces the dangerous idea it’s normal to be malnourished in later life.

Importance of working locally

Working at a local level can be a great way to tackle malnutrition – we can see that from some of the strong initiatives pioneered by our Malnutrition Prevention Programme.

We hope that Brighton will have every success with their booklet and look forward to seeing what other initiatives will follow.

To view the booklet, download it here. If you live in the city, you can collect it from The Food Partnership, based in the Brighthelm Centre in central Brighton.

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