Half of people with dementia will end up suffering from malnutrition according to a new report from Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI).
The study reveals that 30% of people in care homes suffer from malnutrition, while almost as many are not getting enough fluids. It was also found that malnutrition affects up to 10% of older people living at home, and 70% of elderly patients in hospital.
George McNamara, head of policy at the Alzheimer’s Society, said: “It is scandalous that hundreds of thousands of people living with dementia in the UK have been let down when it comes to something as basic as food and drink.
“It is vital to get the fundamentals of care right, and we need a wake-up call across our health and social care system. Malnutrition can be avoided by healthcare professionals doing simple things such as monitoring weight and nutrition.”
The study comes to light as estimates from the charity Age UK suggest that 1.3 million people over 65 suffer from malnutrition, with the vast majority (93 per cent) living in the community.
There are around 800,000 people in the UK that have a form of dementia, and it is predicted that by 2051 it will affect around 1.7 million.
Illnesses and side-effects from certain drugs are thought to impact a person’s appetite, and the consequences can lead to an exacerbation of health conditions and increased mortality, as well as an increased likelihood of sustaining injury.
Counselling can be effective for helping people with dementia and Alzheimer’s – and their families – come to terms with a traumatic and life-changing diagnosis. If you think you might benefit from talking to a counsellor, please see our dementia page.