Muscles are needed for everyday movements and they help to prevents falls. As such, the maintenance of muscle has a direct impact on the independence and quality of life of older people.
As we age, our muscle mass decreases – we can lose up to one third of it. It is difficult to (re)build muscle as we get older. This is why it is important to maintain existing muscle mass. To do so, we need regular exercise as well as sufficient protein intake. As we get older, the requirement of proteins that are needed to maintain muscle is higher than in our youth.
Older people generally eat too few high-protein foods. Appetite often decreases with age and, as such, we eat less. This may be caused by illness or aversions to certain foods. Difficulties when chewing and swallowing can also mean people enjoy food less. This can lead to a lack of protein and deficiencies in other nutrients, which leads to a loss of muscle mass.