Prof. Massimiliano Badiali 



The energy requirements of a person decrease with increase in age. This is because of a lowered basal metabolic rate and lessened physical activity. There is an 8% reduction per decade from 55-75 years. Itís very important an elderly people controls what he eats. Old people need a well balanced diet, which should contain all the essential nutrients - proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals in correct proportions and adequate amounts. The quality, not the quantity matters. The requirements of essential nutrients vary with age, sex, level of physical activity and the height & weight of the individual.  Even a sparse diet can be nutritious. For example 100 grams of wheat contains nearly 12 grams of protein, while the same quantity of rice has only 6.4 grams of protein. As the body ages, the gastrointestinal tract changes and people tend to develop more problems with constipation. A high fibber diet can prevent that. A fibber diet includes lentils, peas, brown rice, whole wheat bread, wheat, whole-wheat cereals, and whole-wheat crackers. For an elderly person is also important to drink lots of fluids, despite the risk of a leak. The elderly have decreased thirst and often do not get enough fluids in their diet as a result. Foods to include for an elderly personís good health is fruit which contains Vitamin C, like blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackcurrants, citrus fruit, kiwi fruit, peaches, mango, cantaloupe melon, apples. Also vegetables (carrots, squash, potato, tomatoes, spinach, cabbage, onions) are very important for Vitamin A (beta-carotene) and Vitamin C.  Also the fish like salmon, mackerel, sardines, tuna, and trout is very important because it is rich in omega-3 essential fatty acids and high in Vitamin E. Old people have to consume protein as eggs, white fish, milk, cheese, yoghurt, meat, chicken, beans, lentils. Old people need a particular care of their alimentation, because they need to control their height and their health.











Regular physical activity is one of the keys to good health. Physically old active people tend to have better mental health. Advancing age brings physiological as well as pathological decline in various organ systems. These factors contribute to a lesser level of fitness experienced by older people. Compared with old inactive people, the physically elderly person active had higher scores for positive self-concept, more self-esteem and more positive affects. Physical activity serves to treat elderly personís mental problems such as depression and boredom. To improve your chances of a long, healthy life, physical activity needs to be combined with a healthy, low fat diet and a smoke free lifestyle. Physical inactivity is a major risk factor for developing coronary artery disease and stroke. It also contributes to other risk factors, including obesity, high blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes. Physical exercises have numerous advantages, beside improving cardiovascular fitness it has benefits in stretching, strengthening, balance- all very important functions for the elderly. A physical exercise can help promote a healthier lifestyle to an advanced age even in the mentally and physically disabled. Muscle-strengthening activities are also important: walking, swimming, gardening golf, lawn bowling and table tennis are also recommended for older people.

Old people with disabilities are less likely to engage in regular moderate physical activity. Still, they can benefit from moderately intense activities such as 30-40 minutes of using a wheelchair.














Elderly people living independently without any assistance should consider improving the safety within their homes, as elderly people are more prone to serious injuries and long-term disability if they fall. Both disabled and elderly people should benefit from modern technology accessories. Modern technology supports must be used for making elderly personís home more suitable. A house with a home system can help them to continue an independent life in their own living environment. Itís important elderly personís safety in the kitchen: avoiding storing too many things on higher, elderly person doesnít climb. They have to be careful also to the fire: if the kitchen oven or water heater is gas-powered, install a carbon monoxide detector that will sound off if the level of carbon monoxide reaches unsafe levels.  In the bathroom they have to be careful to not climb in the shower.

If possible, itís better if it is reduced the need to climb up and down stairs, by relocating the bedroom of the elderly person to ground level or the same level as the living room, kitchen and bathroom. The staircase must be adequately lit at all times: itís better installing additional night-lights. Itís better if there are lights in the bedroom, hall and bathroom to allow a clear, visible, route to the bathroom at night. Smoke alarms should be installed around the kitchen area and the bedroom, especially if the elderly person is a smoker.
In old peopleís houses itís better to control all electrical appliances in the home and to be sure none of these are near water. In old peopleís houses itís important to place a phone in easy reach with the list of all emergency numbers.












When people get older, daily life is connected with different problems. Therefore is important to improve the facilities around their flats, to have public transports in a reachable distance and possibilities to keep their social contacts.

There are a lot of associations and organizations, which provide support and care services to old people. There are places where old people can live as nursing homes, residential buildings for senior citizens or special condominiums for elderly people.

There are various problems especially with the Nursing homes. Lots of these homes donít go confirm with the common standards nowadays. The handicapped are not able to use the facilities, for wheel chair users the lift is missing and they have to cope with different other barriers.

At the same time the attitude concerning living conditions for elderly people has changed tremendously. People in the old age prefer staying at home as long as possible, in spite of physical disabilities. So now there is the new tendency of keeping people in their flats.

Old people are helped by lots of clubs and associations like the Womenís institute, the womenís guild or the British Institute that organize support and cares services in their homes. There are also many different social services for disabled people as meals on wheel for frail elderly people who have difficulties in preparing meals. For disabled old people there are special adaptations or requirements, which can help them to remain independent at home as accessible downstairs toilet, stair-lift or big spaces in the kitchen.












Isolation is the common reason of the most important problems of elderly people. Old people feel alone and bored. The feeling of being superfluous is, in fact, two different ways of experiencing subjectively the status of being cut off from social activity. As far as the decline of intellectual abilities and the gradual decrease of memory and orientation are concerned, biological and social problems blend with each other. Activity, hobbies or work can help old people to remain mentally lucid and with the plenty of their faculties. On the other hand they need to spend their long spare time to keep themselves busy and to flight the boredom. The needs of the elderly people activities or hobbies cannot and must not be standardised, but these depend on the economic situation, sex, education, biological and psychological age, physical and mental health, and lifestyle. Our society should provide a flexible service system and to promote the political and social participation of the elderly in community matters. In fact it is increasing the number of old-age-pensioners capable of working or which wants to continue to work.

It is very important an elderly person spends his time in different activities: most of his time he can go shopping, watching TV, travel, walking, meeting friends.

Many people have pets to substitute relationships with partners, children or family members. Many elderly people for instance, like having a dog instead of being all alone at home. This is usually a dog. The animal serves people's need to cherish, love and fight boredom. But this is really a distressing reason for keeping a pet. The animal is a replacement for normal human contact, something that apparently is too much to summon in our individualistic society.











The elderly are more at risk from crime, because they can often feel isolated and vulnerable. There are things to do to protect elderly neighbours and family members to make them feel safer. You could fit new locks or door viewers for them. Old people can need neighbourís help. If they see anything that worries they have to contact the police. Old people mustnít let strangers in at the door. They have always to ask for identification and if theyíre in doubt they havenít to open the door. In an elderly people house there should be a door peephole for controlling that is at the front door. Old people have to remember to keep the door chain. Also windows locks are essential, especially on downstairs, back and side windows. Burglars dislike the noise involved in breaking glass.

Old people have a diminution of senses as view and hearing: so sometimes they have safety systems in their house, but they arenít able to use it efficiently. Even the best security systems are useless unless they are used. I want to say to old people: ĒAlways lock up, even if you are just popping next doorĒ. In Italy old people security is a daily discussion social: on a TV program ďStriscia la notiziaĒ are given many information for helping and sensibly old people to our society risks. Many burglars or thieves invent lies for stealing old people money: they may say that they are from the water or gas board, or they could be salesmen. I detest this criminal because they take advantages of elderly personís needing of human contact and of their ingenuity. I hope old people understand our society has changed, because money is become more important than honesty and respect. So they canít believe in anyone. They have to believe in themselves to protect their life and their house.













In our society a person becomes old later than in the past. A person can be considered old after sixty-five-seventy years. The change from young to old is physical and mental. Physical changes become more and more evident for every person when the years pass: your young and sensible skin becomes a wrinkle-farrowed face; your muscles become wrinkles in all your body. One day you get up and you find yourself very aged with trembling arms and legs and an ugly voice. This is human destiny: today weíre young, tomorrow we will be old.

The process of ageing is also mental. Old people have a brainís slowdown, memory lacks, muscular rheumatisms, different aches and many illnesses. Most of them are ill or handicapped. The majority of old people are alone and desperate.

 The bigger problem is when an old person is mentally young and physically old or vice versa.

In our society old people are not considered important as in the past when they represented the symbol of the wisdom: their experiences and their lives were in fact an example for the familyís youngest members.

The traditional value of the family has disappeared in our society: so now old people live generally alone, far from their sons. Most of their families consider them a burden: their lives arenít useful, because their presence is boring.

In my opinion old people are very important because their livesí experiences can help us in daily routine and problems. I still remember my grandmotherís teachings: ďWhen you have a problem- she said- donít feel blue, but find the courage and the life will smile you againĒ.












Old people must spend their spare time and find different activity for making their life rich of human contacts and poor of boredom. You can find an elderly person in the market for some fun. Old people that live in family pass their time playing and looking after their grandchildren. But if an elderly person is alone, his time pass slower and slower year after year, moment after moment, so he needs a hobby, an abiding interest that can lead to a richer, fuller life. Art as drawing, painting, sculpture can be an hobby. He can study the art,  can go to galleries, take courses, even plan fun and exciting trips. Many old people love to collect objects: books by a particular author, even first editions, or stamps, coins. Older couples  can dance, so  they can make new friends in their hobby. Single older people can also dance: this activity is healthy for remaining limber and flexible in later years. But the better way of spending the time, is meeting and making friends. In internet sites old people can find emailing friends. Also gardening is almost always the hobby for people who have property with lawns, gardens and trees. Other activities can be: a club, a hobby group, a political party or a prayer group, a choir. Travel can be a whole occupation for the older. The opportunities of hobbies are limitless. The importance is an elderly people try to take up the whole of his time and to flight his daily routine. An elderly people must open his heart to the others, without entering in a depressive status for borless or lonelinessí fear. 















There are many normal physiological changes that accompany aging. However there is considerable difference between individuals regarding these changes. Ideally, successful aging includes a minimal loss of function. Genetic and lifestyle factors play a role in modifying the course of aging processes. Age related changes occur in the soft tissues, bone and organs of the body. Soft tissue changes include muscle mass decreases, body fat increases and total body water decreases. Changes in vision include declining sensitivity to light and colour. The vision or range of visual field declines. The elderly often complain of difficulty understanding speech. The sleep patterns change aging. The elderly seem to need more time to fall asleep and experience more awakenings during the night.

Aging brings upon changes in the gastro-intestinal systems and results in changed nutritional needs. Changes include decreased smell and taste sensations. These changes are due to decreased numbers of taste buds, decreased thirst mechanisms and decreased saliva production and dentition. There are so problems such as nausea, constipation, diarrhoea, decreased appetite, and food allergies. An optimal nutrition strategy includes the right combination of fluid, fat, fibber, vitamins and calories in foods that are easy to prepare, ready to eat and presented in a comfortable social atmosphere.  There are also psychological problems in the elder ness as depression. Depression in the elderly can be a symptom of dementia, bereavement, adjustment disorders or anxiety. The elderly are at risk for depression if there is family history of depression or previous episodes of depression. Old people have often to control their health : they must be controlled continuously by their doctor.