Nutrition & Hydration

Malnutrition (meaning poor or bad nutrition) can refer to a range of issues. For many older people, it is characterised by low body weight or weight loss meaning simply that some older people are not eating well enough to maintain their health and wellbeing. 14% of the 65+ population is at risk of malnutrition and 93% of those at risk are in the community. In Oldham, this equates to around 5,200 residents being at risk. On average, people who are malnourished see their GP twice as often, have 3 times the number of hospital admissions and stay in hospital 3 days longer than people who are well-nourished.

Dehydration is a 1% loss of body mass due to fluid loss. Dehydration in older adults is associated with falls, hospitalisation and higher health and care costs.

This is a community intervention for identifying and addressing malnutrition and dehydration among people aged 65+.  Oldham is one of five areas in which the programme is currently being piloted. Its main aims are to:

  • Raise awareness across the community
  • Identify malnutrition and develop standards of nutritional care
  • Work together with partner organisations
  • Personalise care, support and treatment
  • Use the paperweight armband as a way of monitoring malnutrition

Dehydration also leads to an increased risk of urinary tract infections, meaning an increased use of antibiotics. Information from NICE can be found by clicking on the below:

In order to reach those potentially at risk the programme offers free training for carers, community workers and organisations that meet the over 65s in their day to day work. If you would like access to this training please send your request to and we will direct you towards this resource.

Alternatively, an e-learning module that will help with understanding issues for people at risk of malnutrition and dehydration, particularly those with swallowing difficulties (dysphagia) .This can be found here