Preventing malnutrition in later life

Small Ideas Can Make a Big Impact

A woman and her adult daughter choosing vegetables in a supermarket

This guest blog is from Eat Well Age Well, a new national project tackling malnutrition in local communities in Scotland. They’re on the lookout for innovative ideas and approaches as part of their Small Ideas, Big Impact fund. 

‘I try to have variety with my meals but I am unable to cook for myself anymore due to my poor eyesight and arthritis which means I can’t get out the house. I don’t attend outside activities such as lunch clubs because I struggle to walk and have a walking stick. In order to go out I need someone to accompany me and be confident with supporting me physically as I’m scared of falling and injuring myself. My health really prevents me from doing things.’ (Alan, 86)

Alan’s story is just a snapshot of the 23 years of the conversations Food Train has been having with its older members. Physical barriers that restrict food access, loneliness and reduced appetite were all dominant themes from 85 interviews taken by Food Train staff and volunteers in early 2017, to create a realistic picture of the struggles older people can face to eat well in their own home.

Eat Well Age Well has been developed by the award winning Scottish charity Food Train to address the rising tide of malnutrition.

It is unacceptable that in the 21st century 1 in 10 older people are at risk of becoming, or are malnourished, and our mission is to contribute to the prevention, detection and treatment of malnutrition and dehydration among older adults living at home in Scotland.

A really exciting part of our project is reaching out to the community to look for their ideas and inspiration to test ways in which we can help older people like Alan to eat well, age well and live well.  Our Small Ideas, Big Impact Fund has grants between £50 – £5000 on offer to anyone who feels they could support local older people living at home in Scotland. Whether you’re a group, a community project, a charity or an individual, you are welcome to apply, and we are open to all suggestions.

For example, you could be carer who would like training on spotting the signs of malnutrition. You could be a lunch club that would benefit from new cooking equipment, or extra funds to buy containers so older guests can take extra food home. Maybe you’d like to help boost older people’s cooking skills by hosting a series of classes, or maybe you’d like to host an event in your community bringing older people together through food.

Whether it’s something simple or something more ambitious, there are no wrong answers and we are looking forward to hearing all the creative ideas that come through.

The Small Ideas, Big Impact fund will be open for submissions on 1st October 2018 and applications will be available on our website

If at any point in preparing your application you would like additional help, or want to talk over your idea, please contact us: or call 0131 447 8151 – we will be more than happy to talk to you.

To read other Malnutrition Task Force blogs, click here

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