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Friday, 25 January 2019 13:34

More than a million malnourished pensioners 'withering away in their own homes' amid rising levels of isolation

More than a million malnourished older people are “withering away in their own homes” amid rising levels of loneliness and isolation among Britain’s older population, MPs have warned.

A cross-party group of politicians urged the Government to look more closely at the issue after a report they commissioned found malnutrition among older people was set to cost the NHS and social care £15.7bn a year by 2030.

Action was “urgently required” to eliminate malnutrition among older people for the sake of the NHS and social care services – but above all for purposes of “humaneness”, the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Hunger said. 

A limited availability of data on levels of hunger across the UK makes it difficult to quantify, the MPs said as they called for ”robust and reliable” screening tools to be scaled up so the problem can be identified, diagnosed, and treated more quickly. 

Figures from the House of Commons Library show that the number of people aged 60 or over whose primary diagnosis was malnutrition more than trebled in the decade between 2005-06 and 2015-16.

The MPs estimated that social isolation of older people, coupled with rising life expectancy, meant there were now at least as many older people who were malnourished or at risk of malnutrition today as there were seven years ago – many of whom were “hidden beneath the radar”.

A ”string of setbacks” in older people’s lives, such as bereavement, illness, shop closures and a loss of community transport or meals on wheels, were thought to be main causes of loneliness and isolation. 

Representatives of the adult social care sector said that more funding was needed to address the “underlying care crisis” rather than placing more duties on “already pressured” sector.

Councils meanwhile, said services for older people were being threatened by “significant funding pressures” on local authorities.

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Source: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/elderly-pensioners-isolation-malnourished-uk-mp-warning-withering-in-homes-a8171901.html


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15 July 2019