Heather Keller, Professor/Research Chair Nutrition & Aging

Kinesiology & Health Sciences
University of Waterloo

Community-based nutrition strategies to strengthen health in frail older adults

Older adults are the fastest growing demographic in Canada. Aging in the community is the preferred option for most older adults, which is supported by avoiding frailty and malnutrition. Frailty, sarcopenia, and malnutrition are overlapping conditions that are a growing concern for community-living older adults. Specifically, up to a third of older adults living in the community are at risk for malnutrition, with a higher prevalence seen in frail older adults who require community supports, such as meal programs and home care. Also considered part of the community, assisted living and retirement homes are becoming a common option to support older adults. Working with these supportive services and living options could be strategies to support aging by avoiding or delaying frailty and malnutrition. This session will describe strategies being developed in Quebec and an intervention tested in Sweden designed to address these conditions. The audience will gain a better understanding of proactive solutions to addressing malnutrition and frailty in the community with these innovative strategies.  

Session sponsored by Abbott

Speaker/Chair Bio:

Heather Keller RD PhD FDC FCAHS is the Schlegel Research Chair in Nutrition & Aging at the University of Waterloo. She is an internationally recognized expert in geriatric nutrition, assessment, and treatment.  Research areas focus on nutrition risk and malnutrition identification and treatment across care sectors; improving nutrition care processes and implementing screening and other best practices; supporting food intake of diverse groups living in the community, including those living with dementia; and improving hospital and residential food and promoting food intake and the mealtime experience in these settings. Professor Keller has led several national research and knowledge translation projects, including the landmark Nutrition Care in Canadian Hospitals, More-2-Eat and Making the Most of Mealtimes in Long Term Care studies. Professor Keller has published more than 250 peer-reviewed articles and translates much of this evidence into practice with tools and resources.  As a founding member and past chair/co-chair (2009-2018) of the Canadian Malnutrition Task Force, she is involved in translating research into practice and advocating for improvements in nutrition care. She is currently the co-chair of the primary care working group for CMTF and involved in several national and international expert groups advancing the prevention, detection and treatment of malnutrition.