New Technology Helps Pinpoint Malnutrition In Seniors

Julia Little  |  March 12, 2013

Malnutrition is a problem for many people, but seniors are particularly at risk. Older adults who are living alone may have a hard time getting all of the nutrients they need, which can make them more prone to serious illnesses. A team of researchers in London hopes to curb the issue with the creation of a new piece of technology that will make its debut at a special event at the House of Parliament, according to MedicalExpress.

The technology, called Novel Assessment of Nutrition and Aging, or NANA, is a system that can help track the diet, cognition, mood and physical function of seniors within their own homes. It was developed over a period of three years by researchers at the Universities of St. Andrews, Sheffield, Bath and Reading. Developers also collected input from 400 seniors.

"Being able to eat and drink properly is vital for keeping well and living a good life. We have worked with older adults to make NANA something that people would want to have in their homes and use every day," said Tony HIll, member of the NANA Advisory Panel, according to the news source.

NANA utilizes a touch screen to collect the information from seniors, which researchers hope will shed light on older adults' habits while they are at home. It can be difficult to keep track of the dietary choices of older adults who live independently, which exacerbates the problem of malnutrition.

Family members who are concerned that a loved one is may be suffering from malnutrition should keep an eye out for warning signs. The issue can be caused by a number of factors, ranging from depression to a limited income to a lack of social contact, reports the Mayo Clinic. Some seniors who are trying to watch their weight by limiting salt, protein or sugar may unintentionally become malnourished. Older adults who are living in assisted living communities can ask staff to help them make smart dietary choices.

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