Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Reframing Aging: A Young Old RDNs' Perspective

When she gave the Lenna Francis Cooper Memorial Lecture at the Food and Nutrition Conference, RDN Brenda Richardson affirms that "opportunities abound". In 2030, the number of Americans over 65 will exceed the number of children. Dividing the older adult population into subgroups, the "young old" (age 65-74) group is happier, healthier and better off financially than previous generations.  

Compared to younger, these adults are very motivated to eat healthy.

They want the right mix of food groups and no artificial ingredients.

These older Americans consider health care professionals most trustworthy. Here exists many opportunities in our profession. What can the RDN do?

Participate in Community Programs.
Give short talks at the senior center.

Participate in senior health fairs.

Give culinary demos at farmers markets.
Teach in life long learning programs.

Support Older Colleagues Professionally.
Invite to your workplace and show them what you do.

Share a meal together in the cafeteria.
For affiliate meetings, charge seniors a minimal fee similar to that of a student.

Recruit, recommend and assist older RDNs who want to work.

Ask these experienced dietitians to share experiences with individuals and groups. 

Support the older population in prevention and management of malnutrition.
Young Old (65-74)
Middle Old (75-84)
Old Old (over 85) 

Why dismiss an entire generation?
Many times, young people do not realize the vitality of the older population. There is no place for ageism in daily lives and practice.