Unlike obesity, an obvious public health problem, malnutrition is less visible. People often do not seek advice about their health until malnutrition is severe; they are widely dispersed in the community often living in small family groups or alone. Care is often provided by family and friends who say they receive inadequate support.
The BDA is the professional association for dietitians: the nation's largest membership organisation for food and nutrition professionals. We believe this level of malnutrition is quite simply unacceptable and they are calling on key decision makers to support the following points.
Malnutrition costs more than £13 billion across the UK. It is vital to protect current services and extend provision to reduce these spiralling costs of care packages and readmissions.
We must also protect older people's one meal a day by ring-fencing funding for community meal provision at local level. Dietitians have the expertise to lead the nutrition pathway across the whole health and social care system.
Social isolation and fragmented services have left older people excluded and invisible. We feel it is everybody's responsibility to stamp out starvation in their community. With social care budgets being devolved for local implementation, there is an opportunity now to plan and promote collaborative solutions at local level.
Having enough to eat and drink is one of the most basic human rights, yet today, in the UK, older people living in their own homes are being forgotten about or are somehow not being picked up by the system as suffering from hunger.
For more information about Mind the Hunger Gap and how you can support its objectives, visit www.mindthehungergap.com