Recognising eating disorders in older people
Intended for healthcare professionals
Evidence and practice    

Recognising eating disorders in older people

Louisa Shirley Clinical lecturer and clinical psychologist, Division of Psychology and Mental Health, University of Manchester, Manchester, England
Natasha Lord Lead psychologist for older people’s mental health, Herefordshire and Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust, Worcester, England
Lauryn Cheung Student researcher, University of Manchester, Manchester, England
Gemma Graham Consultant clinical psychologist, Rotherham Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust, Doncaster, England

Why you should read this article:
  • To enhance your awareness of the manifestations of eating disorders in older people

  • To better understand why eating disorders in older people may remain undetected

  • To explore the assessment of older people presenting with altered eating behaviours, weight and/or mental health

Changes in eating behaviours, weight and mental health in older people may be related to psychological distress and indicate the presence of a diagnosable eating disorder, rather than ‘anorexia of ageing’. Eating disorders in older people may be overlooked because signs and symptoms are assumed to be part of normal ageing. The role of nurses in the care of older people with eating disorders is likely to be detection, referral and support in accessing specialist intervention. This article offers an overview of eating disorders in older people and discusses why they may arise, why they may not be detected and how to recognise them. The authors describe a framework that nurses can use when assessing older people to determine whether they may have an eating disorder.

Nursing Older People. doi: 10.7748/nop.2022.e1399

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software

Correspondence

louisa.shirley@manchester.ac.uk

Conflict of interest

None declared

Shirley L, Lord N, Cheung L et al (2022) Recognising eating disorders in older people. Nursing Older People. doi: 10.7748/nop.2022.e1399

Acknowledgement The authors would like to acknowledge the contribution of Safiya Alyas to the referencing of this article

Published online: 26 October 2022

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