UNAIR expert assesses how independent elders meet nutrition needs

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Illustration by Feri Fenoria

UNAIR NEWS – Generally, the elderly have a desire to enjoy their old age with family. However, in certain circumstances, they decided to live alone because they don’t want to bother their family; they must be able to meet their own nutritional needs.

Based on a study, the incidence of malnutrition in the elderly mostly occurs in the elderly who are 70 years old. Besides, the incidence of malnutrition is quite high in the elderly who live in rural areas, because their diets do not fit their body’s needs.

To discuss this topic in more depth, UNAIR Faculty of Nursing Lecturer, Rista Fauziningtyas, conducted a case study of elderly research in rural Magetan.

The study involved seven older people who lived alone without family or partners. The elderly, average age of 64 years, the majority worked as farmers and farm laborers. Their income is around 500 thousand to 1.5 million rupiah a month.

“Of the seven respondents, four (elderly, ed) of them indicated experiencing the risk of malnutrition,” she said.

Based on this research, there are three strategies they carried out to meet their nutritional needs, namely buying food from stalls, preparing their food, and getting food from the garden.

“Food that is usually bought by the elderly is very diverse, ranging from various cakes, rice complete with side dishes and also meatballs. Foodstuffs obtained from the garden are usually various vegetables, fruits and some tubers, “explained Rista.

However, food processing usually does not pay attention to nutrition procedures. Food is not arranged on the table, only placed in a pan or pan. Most of the side dishes that are bought at the stall are tofu and tempe.

As a result of not paying attention to nutritional needs, sometimes the elderly encounter disease problems such as gout, stiff joints, and rheumatism. The disease condition due to the aging process, such as loose teeth and difficulty in swallowing food.

For that, the problem must be addressed immediately. Arista found the answer from his research that cooperation from the government, health workers, and the surrounding community can help deal with cases of malnutrition in the elderly.

According to Arista, community involvement can be carried out with special attention and supervision in the form of cadres for the elderly. Health workers at Puskesmas can also visit the elderly homes to check their health status and fulfill their nutritional needs.

Health Care for the elderly also needs to be activated to check their nutritional status. Besides, families still have to provide support and regular visits to the elderly who live alone.

Author: Fariz Ilham Rosyidi

Editor          : Nuri Hermawan

Link   :https://doi.org/10.5958/0976-5506.2019.02282.4

Rista Fauziningtyas, Elida Ulfiana, and Anggraini Oktavia Ristya, 2019. How Do I Fulfill My Nutrition: The Experience of Older Adult Who Live Alone, Indian Journal, Volume: 10, Issue: 8.

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