Older People

Older People

The proportion of the population aged 50 and over is increasing as people live longer. Although energy requirements generally decrease as people get older, the general dietary guidelines still apply and it is important to remain physically active. Some older people, especially those living in institutions, may have low intakes of a range of micronutrients and may have decreased mobility.
This area of the website aims to provide you with information relating to nutrition and physical activity in older people
From this section of the website you can access information relating to policy and strategy, data, research and surveys, community initiatives, key resources and useful links.

Policy and Strategy

The following documents are the key strategies for older people in Wales:
Welsh Assembly Government (2003) The Strategy for Older People in Wales  plans for an ageing population and the need to improve the number and quality of services offered to people over 50.
Living longer, living better – (April 2008-2013), focused on a range of key strategic areas including continuing to improve the health and well-being of older people and ways of enabling them to stay independent and active for longer. It recognised the fundamental importance of good nutrition, access to affordable and high quality food and of ensuring that vulnerable older people are helped to eat, especially in the hospital setting and care homes.  Download the Strategy for Older People in Wales Living Longer Living Better 2008-2013.
The Strategy for Older People in Wales (Phase 3) 2013-2023 –
Following consultation this third phase of the Strategy focuses on ensuring that older people in Wales have the resources they need to deal with the challenges and opportunities they face.
The Older People’s Wellbeing Monitor for Wales 2009 focuses on the wellbeing of older people aged 50 and over in Wales, with a view to providing a holistic picture of their lives. It pulls together statistics and research from a range of different sources and reports on a variety of wellbeing indicators.
– National Service Frameworks are designed to improve standards and equity of access to health and social services across the country. It sets national standards designed to ensure that as we grow older we are enabled to maintain our health, wellbeing and independence for as long as possible, and receive prompt, seamless, quality treatment and support when required.
 – brings together in one document existing and proposed health promotion initiatives for older people, provide guidance for use at local level on key evidence based health promotion interventions with older people. As such, it provides the major implementation tool for the Promoting Health and Well Being Standard of the National Service Framework for Older People in Wales.

Data, Research and Surveys

Falls Prevention Exercise – following the evidence (2013)
This document from Age UK explains the research base for falls prevention exercise to give a better understanding of the programmes that have been shown to be effective in preventing falls. The guide also provides examples of evidence-based programmes that are currently in practice and demonstrates how they contribute to an integrated falls care pathway.
National Public Health Service (2007) Health Needs Assessment: Older People has been compiled to assist local health partnerships with health needs assessment in preparation for their Health, Social Care and Well-being (HSCWB) Strategies. This chapter covers various topics relating to the health of older people.
Welsh Assembly Government (2004) Statistical Focus on Older People   it presents a range of statistics on older people—mainly people over the age of fifty. It compares their health and their social and economic circumstances with those of people in younger age groups and includes a section on lifestyles.
World Health Organisation (2002) Keep fit for life Meeting the nutritional needs of older persons   is a comprehensive report discusses the epidemiological and social aspects of ageing, health and functional changes experienced with ageing, the impact of physical activity, assessment of the nutritional status of older persons, and nutritional guidelines for healthy ageing.

 Welsh Consumer Council Food Poverty and Older People   – assess to what extent older people in local communities in Wales may be vulnerable to or experiencing food poverty. The research explored views on current eating habits and shopping patterns, potential barriers to maintaining a healthy diet, awareness of local community food projects and what more could be done to improve access to a healthy diet for older people. The research found that food poverty could be a very real problem for many older people in Wales. The barriers identified included mobility problems, living on a low income, a lack of local shops selling healthy foods and a lack of transport.
The Welsh Consumer Council held a roundtable event in January 2008 around the issue of tackling malnutrition among older people in the community and a discussion paper has now been produced summarising this event. The aim of the event was to facilitate discussion between informed partners and stakeholders on the practicalities and possible barriers of using malnutrition screening tools in community settings and what more should be done to raise public awareness of this important issue. Download Tackling Malnutrition among Older People in the Community – Discussion paper from the Welsh Consumer Council. 
British Nutrition Foundation Healthy Ageing: The Role of Nutrition and Lifestyle Report 
The British Nutrition Foundation has launched its latest Task Force report Healthy Ageing: The Role of Nutrition and Lifestyle. The Healthy Ageing Task Force report has been written by internationally recognised experts, and provides a comprehensive and authoritative review of the role of nutrition and lifestyle on the ageing process.
Based on the science reviewed by the Healthy Ageing Task Force, the British Nutrition Foundation has put together a number of resources, including top tips, recipes and the ‘Live long & healthily’ chart.
Preventing Malnutrition in Later Life the Role of Community Food Projects 
Age Concern England commissioned Dr Lisa Wilson of the Caroline Walker Trust to research the impact of community food projects on malnutrition and food access among older people. The aim of the research is to examine how community food projects support older people to access food and the impact this has on nutritional risk, highlighting good practice.
study by researchers at King’s College London highlights a link between lifelong exercise and improved brain function in later life. Regular intensive lifelong exercise as a child and adult was found to improve cognitive functioning at the age of 50 and that even exercise of a lower frequency could offer benefits for cognitive well-being.

National Initiatives

At a national level there are a number of initiatives taking place to promote healthy eating and physical activity levels in older people.
Keep Well This Winter  aims to provide information and support to people aged 65 and over to enable them to keep well during the winter months.
Age Concern Ageing Well   aims to improve the health and well being of older people through investing in community and older people’s groups, recognising the importance of older people in the design, development and delivery of health enhancing programmes.
The Welsh Governments 60+ Free Swimming Scheme  entitles all over 60’s to free access to swimming pools.
Age Concern Launch a Big Lift for older people’s physical activities in Wales
Older people across Wales will soon be able to benefit from a tailor made physical exercise programme called LIFT or Low Impact Functional Training. For more information contact Glenn Little on 029 2043 1546. [email protected].

Key Resources

Please find below a list of key resources relating to nutrition and physical activity in older people. For more resources please visit the Resources Database.
Interpreting physical activity guidelines for older adults – The British Heart Foundation National Centre (BHFNC) has produced a series of three booklets designed to assist those who work with older people to interpret the UK Chief Medical Officers’ physical activity guidelines which were introduced in July 2011.
Older Adults Practice Briefing – this practice briefing produced by the British Heart Foundation National Centre (BHFNC) uses research evidence to provide practical strategies to effectively promote physical activity with older adults. The briefing particularly focuses on people aged 65 and over who are already active or in transition towards becoming frailer. It focuses on enabling them to continue living independently.
Food Vision have produced a toolkit intended to help local authorities, and other interested organisations, understand the importance of ensuring elderly people in the community have healthy, safe and balanced diets. This toolkit focuses on nutrition for elderly people in their own homes and provides ideas as to how, and with whom, practical steps can be taken at a local level to ensure healthy diets are possible and practical. For more information visit the Food Vision website.
Wrexham Lunch Club Forum have produced a Good Practice Guide as a resource for organisers of Lunch Clubs and for those considering setting up a new Lunch Club. It has been produced by members of the Lunch Club Forum, with the support of Wrexham County Borough Council and Association of Voluntary Organisations in Wrexham (AVOW). A Lunch Club is a place where members of the community, particularly older or vulnerable people, come together to share a meal but it is also about providing people with opportunities for social contact and activities.
Although focused on Wrexham it offers useful transferable information including:
• How to assess if a lunch club is needed in your area
• Venues
• Volunteers and helpers
• Insurance
• Transport
• Membership
• CRB checks
• Food Safety
• Policies
• template forms which are designed to support the administration side of running a Lunch Club. These include membership forms, referral forms, volunteers’ application form, payment and attendance register and food temperature chart.
A downloadable toolkit is available as part of the British Heart Foundation’s 30 a day campaign. There are eye catching campaign posters to download also.
Provides information about the benefits of physical activity and how to overcome the barriers that may be preventing older people being physically active.
Contains specific dietary information for older people such as the importance of vitamin D, of keeping a healthy weight, smaller appetites and salt intake.
 aims to support the wider care standards and provide the basis of assessment for residents, their family, care home staff, and those responsible for commissioning and monitoring standards.
Caroline Walker Trust (2004) Eating Well for Older People  – Practical and nutritional guidelines for older people in residential and community care.
Caerphilly Dignity Games – The Caerphilly 50 plus Positive Action partnership has launched a Dignity Games web resource that has been developed as part of the Welsh Government ‘Dignity in Care’ programme.
Get up and go: keeping active over 65 – The British Heart Foundation have produced a series of videos which inspire individuals to share their stories of getting – and staying – active as they age.The videos also offer tips on how to overcome setbacks and how to find activities to suit people with different needs and interests.

Useful Links