With age comes a multitude of changes, both physically, emotionally and mentally. Family members that care for elderly relatives are always on the lookout for health issues and warning signs that their loved one needs assistance with daily living tasks. For a growing number of elderly Americans, mal-nourishment is a growing concern. According to recent research, there are nearly 4 million malnourished elderly adults in the country and the number is expected to rise in the coming years.
Good nutrition has a direct impact on an elderly person’s health and wellness.
The good news is that malnutrition is completely preventable when seniors are monitored and cared for properly. Family members must become familiar with the common causes of malnutrition in the elderly and how they can help prevent it in their aging relative.
Here are some frequently asked question about malnutrition in the elderly:
Q: What is malnutrition, exactly?
A: Malnutrition is the state of the body when it does not have adequate nutrition via healthy food intake. The body needs vitamins, minerals, good fats, carbohydrates and more in the right doses to function properly. When malnourished, elderly adults may have unhealthy weight loss, fatigue, weaker immune system, slower healing, anemia, muscle weakness, weak bones, memory problems, dehydration and a greater risk of developing illnesses.
Q: What are some of the factors that contribute to malnutrition in seniors?
A: There are many factors that might contribute to malnourishment in the elderly. They include decreased appetite due to medication, financial difficulties, and lack of transportation to grocery shop. Other factors could include chronic medical conditions like diabetes and arthritis, impairment of taste and smell, or problems with chewing and swallowing due to mouth or dental issues. Still other factors include depression, loneliness, alcoholism and dementia.
Q: What are the warning signs that can lead to malnutrition?
A: Family members need to be on the lookout for warning signs that demonstrate that their aging relative may be heading toward malnutrition. They should visit around mealtime and see how their relative does preparing meals and eating enough. Family members can check the refrigerator and cupboards to see if there is plenty of food, especially fresh fruits and vegetables. Finally, they can talk to their loved one to get an idea of whether they are struggling to put food on the table.
Q: How can family members prevent malnutrition in their aging relatives?
A: The best way for family members to ensure that their aging relative is never stressed about food and that they are eating a well-balanced diet is to get involved. Either the family member or a hired elder care assistant can take the senior shopping or do it on their behalf. An elder care assistant can prepare a meal every day or prepare several at a time to be heated up. With an elder care assistant showing up regularly, they can monitor how much food the senior eats and even eat with them to make it more social. They’ll be able to report any eating or health problems to family members that may require more changes.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering Elder Care in Johns Creek, GA, please call the caring staff at Always Care Nursing Service today. Call for Assistance: (404) 266-8773 or (800) 989-7828
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