Nutritional issues related to old age

In France, there are currently 1.4 million people over the age of 85. Due to prolonged life expectancy, it is estimated that there will be 5 million people in this age category by 2060. Today, the average age when people in France lose their autonomy is 83.

In 30 years, there will be 4 million elderly, dependent people. While data related to old age and autonomy are known, scratching the surface of these figures reveals the phenomena that old age can cause, notably concerning meals.

The consequences of old age on eating

Loss of autonomy, illness, high level of drug intake, poor oral health, muscle wasting, and even loss of taste and smell are several reasons that explain the difficulty experienced by some elderly people when it comes to eating.

Dysphagia, in particular, affects a number of elderly persons and its consequences (such as, swallowing the wrong way, fear of swallowing and anxiety about meal times) can negatively impact the quality of life of these people. Dysphagia is a condition that impairs the protection of the airways that conduct food to the oesophagus, which can in turn cause swallowing difficulties. For individuals, these phenomena can destroy one’s desire to eat and thus lead to a decrease in food intake and cause the risk of dehydration. Preventing these risks involves offering a balanced, varied diet that is, above all, adapted to the individual nutritional needs and capacities of all seniors.

It is therefore important to contribute to improving the management of dysphagia and the fight against its consequences, and in particular malnutrition.

Textures designed to adapt to these constraints and make meal times a moment of pleasure

How can we take concrete action to address these risks and provide the best possible support to dependent elderly people? Elior teams are working to improve the group’s food texture offer in line with medical progress so that meal time is a moment of sharing and serenity for all age groups. The goal is to ensure that everyone can eat with pleasure, independently and for as long as possible, regardless of their state of health. 

This highly customized offer has been designed to provide individuals personalized food textures 
that match their abilities and state of health, since each resident has specific needs that do not correspond to the same textures.

Respecting individuals’ needs ensures that their ability to swallow and chew is maintained. To do this, IDÉQUATIO draws on:

  • An individualized diagnosis of the person's abilities which is carried out by medical teams to detect phenomena such as difficulties related to food going down the wrong way and swallowing.
  • The shared use of a digital tool that allows all staff members (doctors, speech therapists, nurses, orderlies, cooks) to manage food texture requirements for residents and to input this information in the digital tool. 
  • Respecting everyone's tastes as well as their eating habits and loss of taste

While this offer represents a major advance, this is due to the new, in-depth scientific approach that was adopted. It was urgent that the offer adapt to aging issues. IDÉQUATIO is designed for all specialized healthcare establishments and to meet the expectations of their teams, in particular the orderlies who work there on a day-to-day basis: by providing  a more adapted diet, contract catering helps to enhance the well-being of inmates at all times throughout their lives, by making the living conditions of dependent elderly people more humane.


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