Turkish Journal of Geriatrics 2006 , Vol 9, Issue 2
Geriatric Medicine, Meir Medical Center Kfar Saba, Affiliated to the Sackler School of Medicine, Tel Aviv University ISRAEL The rate of elderly is growing with time in the developed as well as in the developing societies in a rate of about 5% a year. This population has higher morbidity then the general population. Elderly are characterized by changes in different physiological activities as well as multiple pathologies. Cellular function is based on hormones, cytokines and neurotransmitters acting through cell's receptors. Dietary structure is considered as one of the components of health and well-being. Having high morbidity with slower rate of cure, elderly are major consumer of nutrition support.

It is important to differentiate between the role of nutrition as part of lifestyle, in aging and the role of nutrition in treatment of the sick elderly. Nutrition has important role in the process of healthy aging, nevertheless aging has impact on the nutrion of the person secondary to its physiological changes.

The recent developments in the technology of nutrition support give us the tools to supply every person with all nutrients compounds in different manners. We can modulate the dietary structure in any way that we think that can benefit the person. There are enriched solutions with different substances, that either bypass the swallowing mechanism in different ways supplying enteral nutrition or going parenterally directly to the circulation through different ports. Despite these various opportunitie there are many questions about the efficacy of the nutrition support in the elderly in certain opportunities and ethical debate about the indication with different opinions is running now, questioning the medical indications, the techniques and the timing for the implementation of support.

Sarcopenia, the decline in muscle mass is part of the aging process, the differentiation between low muscular mass resulting from starvation secondary to disease and that derived as a consequence of different responses to disease with the background effect of aging is has been recently determined.

The role of the feeding process as part of the needs of the old person, reflecting empathy and psychosocial support, is becoming more prominent part of elderly care.

The main challenge of clinical nutrition in the aged now, are in the determination of the optimal faster timing for intervention. Keywords : Aging, Nutrition deficiencies, Nutrition support, Elderly nutrition, Elderly care