Christmas is coming and the goose is getting fat but it is a sad fact highlighted in a report this week that many of our elderly are not. Age UK have launched a project that aims to raise awareness of malnutrition which over a million older people, above the age of 65, are suffering from in the UK today.
In today’s throw away consumer society with an excess of food waste, grocery stores open 24 hours and door step delivery, plus the rise in obesity levels amongst British residents, it seems unthinkable that the old man or woman down the street from us, could be clinically underweight and starving.
Walk along any High Street or city centre on a Friday or Saturday night and you can usually see discarded litter with half eaten take away food dumped in waste bins or scattered on the ground. Supermarkets fill crates and skips with food, that has passed its sell by date or been spoiled or damaged in some way, and they cannot put it out for sale. Yet behind closed doors, often alone and without the help of care providers or family support, someone near to you could be at risk of not eating properly.
Pilot scheme raising awareness of malnutrition backed by government funds
At this time of year, when the stores are filled with more than the usual fare and television advertisements entice us in with a glittering array of goodies, I find it hard to stomach the fact that, some elderly people cannot manage the means to put together a basic hot meal at least once a day. Fortunately, this is being tackled with the help of government funding in five pilot areas and with the backing of Age UK, who know just where to start their project. Working with GP’s, care homes and hospitals, they aim to raise awareness of this disturbing problem, because malnutrition cases typically end up seeing their doctor or being admitted to hospital twice as often as those who are well fed.The Malnutrition Task Force was set up last year and will be targeting five areas in the UK with the Salford pilot in Lancashire and Lambeth pilot in London starting this January. Sometimes it is not the finances that cause older people not to eat properly, but a range of other issues, such as loneliness or depression so that they cannot be bothered to get up and out and start cooking.
We have several days of feasting and celebrating ahead of us over the next few days, and many of us then start the dieting and fasting ready for the New Year. Whilst out and about getting in the last minute shopping, stocking up our fridges and freezers for what seems like two months, let alone two days, spare a thought for your elderly neighbours and friends.We all want to have a Happy and Healthy Christmas and a Peaceful and Prosperous New Year so share a little Yuletide consumer spirit and help make someone’s life a little healthier and cheerful.
From everyone at iRateiSlate – we wish you all the best for the Festive Season and look forward to hearing from you in 2014 – we’re listening!