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Remuda Ranch Reports Eating Disorders on the Rise Among Elderly
Date:4/27/2009

PHOENIX, April 27 /PRNewswire/ -- Remuda Ranch Programs for Eating and Anxiety Disorders (www.remudaranch.com) reports elderly men and women may have eating disorders more often than most health professionals realize. Recent research reports eating disorders in elderly women have increased and the majority of deaths from anorexia nervosa occur in people over age 65.

"Because few health professionals think of screening for eating disorders in the elderly, many elderly eating disorder patients have frequently been missed, with tragic consequences," said Edward Cumella, Ph.D., executive director at Remuda Ranch (http://www.remudaranch.com/general/inpatient/index.php). "Anorexia nervosa is a very serious illness in seniors because many already have compromised health to begin with."

Many elderly people living independently have a limited number of meaningful relationships and are limited in their contact with others. This makes eating disorder behaviors hard to identify. For those living in nursing care centers or assisted living facilities, it's common to refuse food and become dangerously thin. Typical excuses - "I'm full", "I feel sick", "I have no appetite" - are often accepted at face value. These excuses should be challenged to determine whether there's a deeper issue.

"Eating disorder origins among the elderly are surprisingly similar to those identified for young women, but with a unique stage-of-life dimension," adds Cumella. "Refusing food is often an attempt to control the one thing the person still feels able to control - food intake."

For elderly people living alone, limited food intake can be an esteem-preserving response to not having the money to buy groceries. Refusing food may also be a protest aimed at loved ones, expr
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SOURCE Remuda Ranch Programs for Eating and Anxiety Disorders
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