Advice line to help tackle malnutrition among older people across region

A local charity leading the charge to tackle malnutrition among older people across Scotland hopes a new advice line will help Dumfries and Galloway residents secure swifter support.

Dumfries-based Food Train’s Eat Well Age Well project team are manning the freephone Malnutrition Advice Line – 0800 13 88 220 – with a focus on those aged 65 and over.

They are providing crucial advice and practical information to older people themselves  – or anyone concerned about an older person’s wellbeing – on how they can stay well nourished.

The line’s launch is among measures being taken to support healthy ageing and help people across Scotland better understand the signs of malnutrition among older people so that action can be taken early before problems deepen.

It follows a pilot project where registered dieticians and nutritionists from Eat Well Age Well fielded calls on queries including those surrounding reduced appetite, weight loss and confusion about what to eat in order to stay well.

Food Train was founded in Dumfries by a group of older people 26 years ago. It is most widely known for its home shopping service for older people, which operates across Dumfries and Galloway. Eat Well Age Well is one of that scheme’s sister services as part of wider national efforts to tackle malnutrition among older people.

Laura Cairns, Project Manager of the Eat Well Age Well service at Food Train.

Laura Cairns, Food Train’s Eat Well Age Well Project Manager, said: “Worrying numbers of older people across Scotland suffer from – or are at risk of suffering from – malnutrition. We are pleased to launch this line to support older people, their carers and others with this important issue. 

“We need everyone to start simple conversations with friends and loved ones about food, cooking and their appetite.  These conversations are key to discovering the problems people are experiencing and what steps can be taken to ensure there are no further problems with eating. Our advice line allows exactly that.

“Any over-65s in Dumfries and Galloway with concerns about their own nutritional health – or a friend, relative or carer worried that someone is not eating and drinking enough or experiencing barriers or challenges around food – should get in-touch. Our advice can support older people to live better lives.”

Basic pointers are food-first – how to boost calorie and protein intake – while finding out more about individual circumstances so people can be pointed towards agencies and organisations which may be able to help further.

The Malnutrition Advice line (0800 13 88 220) is open from 9am until 4pm on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays or alternatively email at any time. More details are available at

This is not an emergency line. People with immediate concerns about health and wellbeing should phone their GP or NHS 24 on 111.