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Older people going hungry in their own homes, report says

More than a million older people could be going hungry in their own homes, says a report that suggests withdrawing the winter fuel payment from beter-off pensioners to pay for vulnerable older people to eat at least one hot meal a day

More than a million older people could be going hungry in their own homes, a parliamentary report says.

Malnutrition among older people is costing the NHS and social services 11.9 billion a year, a figure that could surge to 15.7 billion by 2030, according to the report by a cross-party group of MPs and peers.

They urged the government to consider withdrawing the winter fuel payment from better-off pensioners to fund community projects that aim to ensure vulnerable older people eat at least one hot meal a day.

The main causes of malnutrition among older people include loneliness and isolation caused by bereavement or illness, closure of local shops and the loss of community transport facilities or Meals on Wheels, said the report from the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Hunger.

More vulnerable

Malnourished


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More than a million older people could be going hungry in their own homes, a parliamentary report says.

Malnutrition among older people is costing the NHS and social services £11.9 billion a year, a figure that could surge to £15.7 billion by 2030, according to the report by a cross-party group of MPs and peers.

They urged the government to consider withdrawing the winter fuel payment from better-off pensioners to fund community projects that aim to ensure vulnerable older people eat at least one hot meal a day.

The main causes of malnutrition among older people include loneliness and isolation caused by bereavement or illness, closure of local shops and the loss of community transport facilities or Meals on Wheels, said the report from the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Hunger.

More vulnerable

Malnourished older people are more vulnerable to accidents and ill health and are also more likely to take longer to recover or heal, meaning prolonged stays in hospital, it said.

It called for action to improve public data on malnutrition and to ensure those at risk are identified and helped in the community.

Supermarkets can help by offering lunch clubs, subsidised transport and 'assisted shopping' sessions, with slow checkout lanes to allow older people to shop at their own pace, said the report.

Diagnosis and detection

The group's chair Frank Field said: 'The elimination of malnutrition among older people is urgently required.

'Our central recommendation in this report is for a series of innovative pilot schemes that feed and care for older people.'

Association of Directors of Adult Social Services president Margaret Willcox said it would be 'extremely challenging' to provide individualised care for people at risk of malnutrition when the sector is already facing a £2 billion funding shortfall by 2020.

A government spokesperson said malnutrition was a complex issue. 'We know better diagnosis and detection is key, which is why we continue to train all health staff to spot the early warning signs of malnutrition so effective treatment can be put into place.’


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