An overview of the gastrointestinal system as it relates to the nutritional status of the older individual is presented. The anatomy and physiology and age-related changes of the system are reviewed. Selected common age-related disorders are discussed along with their incidence, presenting symptoms, diagnostic measures, and interventions. The American Cancer Society’s 2020 screening recommendations for the intestines are then outlined.
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Significance of changes in biological, psychological, and social aging and their impact on lessened reserve capacity; the importance of understanding slowness, stress, pacing, and accidents in working with older adults; and the role of health promotion, disease prevention, and health maintenance in successful aging conclude the chapter.