Poor nutrition is commonly found in patients presenting to old age psychiatry services. Even in affluent societies many older people are among the most impoverished or feel that they cannot afford good food. Some are too frail to get out to the shops. Others lack motivation to shop and eat because of depressive illness. Patients suffering from dementia may be incapable of shopping and preparing food. Widowers might never have learned to cook. A vitamin B 12 or folate level at the lower end of the reference range, or even below it, is as often a reflection of poor nutrition as an indication of pernicious anaemia.

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