The health benefits of seeing a dietitian exceed far beyond lost kilos. For older people especially, eating well can mean better mobility, decrease the risk of disease and help them to live at home for longer.
This week is Dietitians Week. It’s 2022 theme ‘Dietitians improve lives’ shines a spotlight on the many ways dietitians transform lives and better communities through their work.
For Alex, 69, the experience of seeing a dietitian has been life changing.
Alex (pictured above) cares for her husband Paul, who is waiting for a liver transplant. Due to COVID lockdowns, a move from their family farm, and Paul’s worsening condition, Alex’s weight ballooned from 65 to 75kgs in 12 months.
“I was concerned that I could become pre-diabetic, and was depressed and unhappy with my appearance,” Alex says.
“My method of controlling my weight was to restrict my diet, eating only a banana for breakfast, no lunch, and a snack for evening meal with no carbs. As an osteoporosis patient, I was determined to eat calcium rich foods, but also cut milk down to low fat in coffee.”
Luckily, Alex found help from Debbie Chen (below), an accredited dietitian with not-for-profit organisation VMCH, who helps older people and people with disability with their nutritional health.
“People I support may be malnourished, or at risk of malnutrition, which we often see in aged care, people who live alone and want to improve their nutrition,” Debbie says.
“I love seeing the positive outcomes my clients and seeing what a difference it makes to improving their health and quality of life.”
Alex says she was sceptical of Debbie’s advice at first, but the results spoke for themselves.
“Eating from all the food groups and not skipping of meals resulted in a weight loss of three kilos in 10 days. I feel less sleepy during the day, sleep better at night, I’m happier, and have a total uplift in confidence.
“Psychologically, the consultations have probably benefitted me more than anything, as now I feel that I am in control. I would never have believed a dietician could have helped me, as due to media ‘advice’ and calorie counting, I thought I could live on carrots and cucumber forever. Thank you Debbie for persisting with a recalcitrant patient and for the uplift in mood, health and outlook you have given me.”
VMCH has a range of Allied Health support options for older people and people with disability. To learn more, call us on 1300 698 624.