Family members and other caregivers can help older loved ones organise and maintain their prescriptions, for instance creating a routine at home that includes taking medication. We are also witnessing a positive mindset shift in medical practice, which focuses more on the patient’s emotional and psychological needs and goes from treating diseases to treating people.
MAKING NUTRITION A COMMUNITY AFFAIR
Just as taking medicine properly optimises treatment, balanced nutrition helps older adults maintain their health.
As we age, nutrition-related conditions can affect us more readily. Sarcopenia, which is age-related muscle loss, affects 32 per cent of people in Singapore aged 60 and above. Those with sarcopenia also have a higher risk of frailty and type 2 diabetes.
Good nutrition and eating habits are essential for muscle health. For seniors, however, healthy eating can be challenging, especially if they eat in isolation.
Older adults make simpler – and therefore less nutritionally diverse – food choices when eating alone, according to a paper by the Asian Working Group for Sarcopenia. The research shows that when older people eat together in social settings with a variety of food on offer, they tend to eat more and make better choices.
Combining exercise with communal eating has an even greater effect on muscle health. Research in Japan cited by the working group found that those who combined light exercise with communal eating lost more body fat and did better on muscle-health tests than those who just ate communally.