Read our full Policy Statement here.
With 1 in 10 older people in the UK today either at risk of, or living with, malnutrition, the need to increase detection rates, and tackle the condition, have never been greater. Eat Well Age Well's focus is on older people living at home who are at risk of, or have, malnutrition, due to being underweight, rather than those who are malnourished due to obesity. If a person has this kind of malnutrition, they are likely to be at a higher risk of falling, have a weaker immune system, and visit their GP or be admitted to hospital. In 2017, 45,000 people aged over 65 who fell required an ambulance from the Scottish Ambulance Service.
Taken in the context of Scotland's ageing population, the benefits of tackling malnutrition would be felt not just at the individual level, but also from a financial perspective, with our increasing need to manage the public purse and reduce health and social care costs. In monetary terms the average cost of a malnourished patient is £7408 p.a., compared with £2155 for a non-malnourished patient.
Malnutrition is often unrecognised and untreated in hospitals, for both in-patients and out-patients, so the lack of detection generally may partly explain the absence of underweight malnutrition within policies that concern older people.
Crucially, malnutrition is not a normal consequence of ageing, and can be prevented from happening in the first place.
Our vision is of a Scotland where older people living at home are supported to eat well and age well, and where social care professionals, carers, volunteers and older people themselves are more able to recognise the signs of malnutrition, and to secure the support needed to tackle this preventable condition