What are the eating habits of deer


Undernourishment or malnutrition in which the need-based supply of energy and nutrients is no longer guaranteed. In extreme cases, it comes to physical emaciation (cachexia) and a loss of strength of the person concerned. It is estimated that around 1.5 million people over 60 in Germany suffer from chronic malnutrition.

Leading complaints

  • One-sided eating habits (e.g. only bag soups or toast)
  • Loss of appetite (skipping or refusing meals)
  • Weight loss
  • Sunken face and bony hands
  • Difficulty concentrating, tiredness and exhaustion
  • Susceptibility to infection (weakening of the immune system)
  • Brittle and heavily grooved fingernails (evidence of iron or vitamin deficiency)
  • White-stippled fingernails (indication of calcium deficiency)

The illness

Malnutrition and malnutrition have become one of the most common but neglected diseases in old age. According to a nutritional study, around 60% of patients over the age of 75 were malnourished when they were admitted to hospital. Since the transition from unhealthy eating behavior to malnutrition is usually gradual, the illness is often not noticed in time by those affected, relatives or nursing staff. The quantitative malnutrition, in which overall too little is eaten, becomes noticeable after some time through weight loss. Qualitative malnutrition is usually a one-sided diet that is not necessarily associated with weight loss. Rather, due to the unbalanced food composition, the need for certain nutrients is not met.

Nutritional requirements

It is a misconception that the body needs less food as it ages. Only the energy expenditure decreases, that is, the body needs fewer fats and carbohydrates, from which it derives energy. The need for calories decreases with age by around 500 calories (kcal) or about half a bar of chocolate. The German Nutrition Society (DGE) recommends 1,800 kcal for women and 2,300 kcal for men for seniors. The need for protein, vitamins, trace elements and minerals, on the other hand, remains unchanged and even increases in the case of chronic diseases. Therefore, elderly people should especially eat foods that are high in nutrients and low in calories, such as B. Eat lean meats and cheeses, quark, vegetables and whole grains.

There are many reasons that contribute to the fact that the elderly do not eat enough nutrients for months or years:

  • As the taste buds decrease on the tongue, the sense of taste changes with age. This can be B. lead to the fact that old people perceive the taste "sweet" particularly well and accordingly only (want to) eat sweet things.
  • The changed ability to bite and chew makes eating more strenuous. As a result, easily swallowable foods such as milk porridge, ready-made soups, pudding or white bread are at the top of the menu.
  • Lack of social structure: Many old people live alone and are often not interested in shopping and cooking for themselves.
  • Forgetfulness: Many old people do not have a fixed daily structure and simply forget to eat regularly.
  • Food preferences and behaviors no longer change with age. This becomes a problem, especially in the home. It is not uncommon for the person affected to react by refusing to eat.
  • After the death of their partner, widowed people have problems cooking for only one person (women) or looking after themselves (men).

Support from relatives

Protecting a loved one from malnutrition requires a sure instinct. There are no standard recipes for when to intervene at short notice in individual cases and when to wait better. Therefore, the following tips cannot be implemented directly in practice, but they do include the points that need to be considered:

Loss of appetite. It tastes better together. People who have to eat alone quickly lose their appetite. The enjoyment of eating increases when meals are prepared and consumed together.

Ask about wishes and consider needs. Everyone not only has their favorite foods and drinks, but also eating habits and dislikes that have been "tried and tested" for years. With a little patience, it can often be possible to reactivate the desire to eat with favorite foods.

Move! Loss of appetite is often due to a sedentary lifestyle. Physical activity stimulates the metabolism and digestion. Even with older people who can no longer move independently or who simply spend a lot of time in their home, a daily minimum level of physical activity can sometimes work wonders.

Tart foods or juices and citrus fruits also stimulate the appetite. Basically, it is better to have five to six small meals than three large ones. Lush meals unnecessarily burden the digestive organs and thus the cardiovascular system.

Difficulty chewing and swallowing. Chewing problems are often due to the fact that the dentures are no longer firmly in place because the jaw shrinks with age. The dentist can help here. Chewing problems should not be a reason for exclusively soft or mushy food. Often it is enough, e.g. B. Removing hard crusts of bread instead of eating toast. To make chewing easier, the food can also be chopped up, a peeled and chopped apple, e.g. B. also tastes good to old people and contains a lot of important vitamin C.

People who have difficulty swallowing need to sit upright when eating. To avoid choking, you should only drink when your mouth is empty of leftovers. (Too) solid food should be avoided; instead, pureed foods and drinks with thickeners (e.g. locust bean gum) can be adapted to the patient's needs and given in spoons. Healthy and nutritious are z. B. also kefir, buttermilk, freshly squeezed juices (fruit and vegetables), fruit pureed with yoghurt or cream soups. But drinking and additional food available in pharmacies (e.g. Biosorb®, Clinutren 1.5®) can help if there is a risk of malnutrition due to swallowing and chewing difficulties.

People with extreme swallowing disorders are at risk of getting B. swallowed life-threatening and suffocated if food is supplied too quickly. The causes of swallowing disorders should definitely be clarified medically. Speech therapists offer swallowing and chewing training.

If you are overweight, you should change your diet to nutrient-rich foods as soon as possible, but avoid foods rich in carbohydrates and fat. A balanced mixed diet with plenty of grain products, potatoes, fruit and vegetables, dairy products, poultry and fish is rich in nutrients. You should avoid excessive consumption of meat and sausage, eggs, sweet and high-fat foods (cream cakes).

Some experts recommend that older people generally switch to low-fat foods, but the low-fat strategy is now controversial. This is why older people can eat what they like, even if it is the cream curd on the bread roll and the fruit cake on the weekend. But the focus should be on the quality and balance of the food.

If the person concerned is underweight, he needs nutrient and energy-rich food. If this is not possible with a normal diet, the patient should take energy or protein-rich food supplements under medical supervision. The energy content of the food can also be measured with the help of flakes of butter, e.g. B. in milk soup or pudding, increase; Cream dishes or chicken broth are also good sources of energy. In addition, pharmacies offer tasteless powders for fortifying food and beverages (e.g. Clinutren Additions®). In most cases, it is enough to take these remedies for a few weeks until the weight of the person concerned has stabilized.

Purchasing problems

Inquire about open lunchtime tables from social institutions or nursing homes in your area. For people who can no longer move out of the apartment independently, "Meals on Wheels" is a good choice. Most large supermarkets these days have a grocery shopping service that delivers groceries to your home.

Special cups or cutlery

which are available in medical supply stores can facilitate the preparation and consumption of food and beverages in the case of some illnesses or disabilities, e.g. B. in Parkinson's disease.

Artificial nutrition

If independent nutrition is no longer possible, the doctor will consider artificial nutrition, e.g. B. by a PEG tube. With the appropriate support from caregivers, this diet can also be carried out at home. Advantages and disadvantages must be carefully weighed against each other.