A charity leading the charge to tackle malnutrition among older people hopes a new advice line will help more Dumfries and Galloway residents to eat and live better.
Food Train previously operated a Malnutrition Advice line supporting those aged 65 and over who were concerned they were at risk of becoming malnourished.
It has now rebranded to the Eat Well Age Well Line – 0131 447 8151 – and is available for ANY older person to phone for advice on their diet and how it can be improved.
The broadened support has been announced as part of Malnutrition Awareness Week, which runs until Sunday (November 12th).
It is another way in which the Dumfries-founded charity – which operates a shopping delivery operation and other support services across the region – is helping people locally to eat well and live well independently in their own homes.
Jen Grant, a dietitian with Food Train who takes calls on the Eat Well Age Well Line, said: “Prevention is the key to tackling malnutrition among older people, so we are delighted to be able to broaden the support available via this line so that people can seek advice on all kinds of issues before they deepen.
“Eating well is key to ageing well and can help maintain independence for longer and prevent a variety of illnesses.
“The advice line aims to provide first-line dietary advice to older people or those that work with/care for them. It is staffed by a registered dietitian who can advise on a number of issues, including struggling to eat or drink enough.”
Others include poor appetite or reduced food intake, healthy eating for ageing well and managing specific conditions such as diabetes or IBS.
Research shared by Food Train last month (October) suggested that significantly more older Scots are in danger of becoming malnourished than official estimates suggest – almost a fifth compared to one in 10. There are fears that problems could deepen due to the cost of living crisis.
Food Train has made repeated calls for malnutrition screening to become mandatory for all statutory agencies that have a role in supporting older people. These are being highlighted again as part of Malnutrition Awareness Week.
By identifying those at risk sooner, the charity says support can be given to stop people becoming unwell, easing pressures on NHS and social care services.
Food Train works with about 3,500 people aged 65 and over across Scotland, tackling malnutrition and loneliness through shopping and meal-sharing services, along with other projects.