There’s no question about it: Our bodies change as we age. In turn, seniors have very different nutritional needs than teenagers, children, and even middle-aged adults.
Age-related changes can affect how your body processes food, which influences your dietary needs and affects your appetite. These are some of the changes:
Your metabolism slows down. This happens naturally, but it becomes more pronounced if you don’t get as much exercise as you should. When your metabolism slows, your body doesn’t burn as many calories, which means you need to eat less to stay at a healthy weight. As a result, the foods you eat should be as nutrient-rich as possible. Most women with average activity levels need about 1,800 calories per day. Men with an average activity level need about 2,300 calories each day. You’ll need fewer calories if you’re sedentary, more if you are very active.
Your digestive system changes. Your body produces less of the fluids that it needs to process food in your digestive system when you get older. These changes can make it harder for your body to absorb important nutrients like folic
People ages 60 and older who received free bus passes undertook significantly more physically active forms of travel — such as walking or taking the bus — than those who didn’t, a British study found.
Compared with older individuals who had not received a free bus pass, those who received free passes traveled more actively, regardless of whether they were of low or high socioeconomic status, according to Sophie Coronini-Cronberg, MSc, of Imperial College London, and colleagues.
The study also showed older individuals with free bus passes walked significantly more than those without a free pass, they wrote in the Sept. 20 issue of the American Journal of Public Health.
In England, a National Bus Pass was introduced for citizens ages 60 and older with limited access in 2006, and was expanded to include all local buses anywhere in England in 2008.
“A key purpose of the concessionary scheme is to increase bus use as a means of reducing social exclusion among older people and, in particular, to ensure access to travel among those on limited incomes,” Coronini-Cronberg
More than 90 million Americans have high blood pressure and/or diabetes. Both of these diseases are leading causes of a silent killer, kidney disease.
For older adults, this is especially critical as studies show an increase of diabetes with aging due to factors such as obesity, decreased activity, and insulin resistance. Because of medical advances in the treatment of diabetes, patients with the disease are living longer, thus leading to more diabetes-related complications, such as kidney disease.
Kidney disease can develop as a result of a number of factors such as genetics, blood sugar, and blood pressure. If a diabetic person can keep his blood pressure under control, he’ll have a better chance of avoiding kidney disease.
The startling thing about kidney disease is that it produces few symptoms until kidney function is practically gone. Actual symptoms aren’t specific—fluid buildup, loss of sleep, poor appetite, and upset stomach—so it is hard to diagnose kidney disease initially. Diabetics need to see their doctors regularly, because they can check blood pressure, urine—for protein—and the blood for waste
Daily shots of growth hormone-releasing hormone (GHRH) improved cognition in both healthy adults and those with mild cognitive impairment, researchers reported.
In a five-month randomized trial, the substance, given subcutaneously, was associated with a significant improvement in cognitive performance compared with placebo, according to Laura Baker, PhD, of the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle, and colleagues.
The benefit was driven by significantly better executive function and a trend toward better verbal memory, although visual memory was not changed, the group reported online in Archives of Neurology.
GHRH stimulates release of growth hormone from the pituitary, in a pulsatile fashion, which in turn causes the release of insulin-like growth factor 1 from the liver, the researchers noted.
All three “have potent effects on brain function, their levels decrease with advancing age, and they likely play a role in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease,” Baker and colleagues wrote.
Evidence suggests that elevating hormone levels in people at risk for cognitive impairment might prevent mental decline or improve function, they noted.
To test the idea, they enrolled 152 adults, ages 55 to 87, including 66 with mild cognitive impairment (MCI). They were randomly assigned to placebo or tesamorelin
How old do you think you smell? A new study suggests that humans possess the ability to judge whether a person has reached their senior years just by sniffing their body odor.
People in the study correctly gauged whether the former wearer of an underarm pad was elderly or not just by sniffing it. And for the record, most didn’t think “old-people smell” was off-putting at all.
The finding “shows that there’s yet another signal hidden in the body odor that we are somehow able to extract and make use of,” said study co-author Johan Lundstrom, an assistant professor at the Monell Chemical Senses Center, in Philadelphia.
As for the notion that “old-people smell” doesn’t leave people as disgusted as you might expect, Lundstrom said the odor’s power — or lack thereof — appears to have a lot to do with whether the elderly are actually physically present. “Lacking a context, the negativity of the body odors disappear,” he said.
The study authors launched their research as part of an effort to better understand the chemical signals that people detect in body odor. Previous research had suggested that we can pick up signs of sickness in
People who live long are much more likely to be disabled and require caregiving during their last months of life, two new studies found.
A national study of more than 8,200 older Americans revealed that more than one of every three seniors can expect to experience disability within their last year of life that will affect their ability to handle daily activities such as dressing, bathing, eating, getting in or out of bed, walking across the room or using the toilet.
And a smaller survey of 491 seniors in New Haven, Conn., found that disability ramps up quickly in the last few months of life. Five months before death, about 27 percent of the seniors surveyed needed help due to disability; that number increased rapidly to 57 percent in the month prior to death.
“We found that about half of patients in that year preceding death had serious symptoms that forced them to either stay in bed or cut down on their normal everyday activities,” said Dr. Sarwat Chaudhry, lead author of the New Haven study and an associate professor at Yale University School of Medicine’s Section of General Internal Medicine.
People commonly think that if they are disabled at the end of their