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Diverticular Disease and the Elderly

Diverticular disease is a condition which affects the large intestine.  Diverticulosis occurs when small pouches (diverticula) develop in the lining of the large intestine.  Diverticulitis is when these pouches become inflamed or infected.

Diverticular disease is most common in people aged over 50 years, with older age and diet being considered the main risk factors.  It is thought that a low fibre diet may increase an individual’s chance of developing diverticular disease.  Genetics is also thought to play a role in diverticular disease.

Sodium Intake of Residents

Sodium or salt is a necessary inclusion in the diet of all Australians.  It is needed by the body to help regulate fluid levels.  Unfortunately the average person consumes around three times as much salt as is needed to maintain good health.  It is recommended by the NHMRC and Heart Foundation that on average, people consume less than 1 ½ teaspoons of salt each day.  A diet high in salt has the potential to contribute to high blood pressure which is a risk factor for kidney disease and cardiovascular diet.  Many foods (wholegrains, meat, dairy) naturally contain small amounts of sodium and therefore it is rare that salt needs to be intentionally added to the diet to achieve the recommended intake.

The scoop about thickened fluids

Most residential aged care facilities (RACFs) have a relatively large stock of thickened fluids. With approximately 68% of residents having dysphagia, many resident require thickened fluids to maintain their pulmonary health. Some sites prefer to use fluids that are pre-thickened, which generally improves the accuracy of the thickness the resident receives.  However the majority of RACFs will have some form of thickening powder on-site. This allows any drink to be made to any of the 3 thickness levels (mildly, moderately or extremely thick).

Diabetes in Aged Care

Recent research shows that up to one quarter of aged care residents have diabetes.  Diabetes is characterised by the body’s  reduced ability to control blood glucose levels (BGL) with poorly controlled diabetes having the potential to result in side effects such as poor would healing, pressure ulcers, weight loss, chronic infections, cognitive decline and increased risk of falls.  Glucose is however, an essential energy source for the body and therefore needs to be included in the diet in moderation.  Carbohydrate foods such as breads and cereals, rice, pasta, potato, dairy, fruit, cakes, biscuits, soft drinks, juices, etc all breakdown to form glucose/sugar.