Home Care Nutrition Tips: Prevent/Detect Malnutrition in Seniors
The ‘Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ observes March as the ‘National Nutrition Month’ every year. It deals with nutritional issues and their solutions largely but the primary focus is on the elderly who lack proper food.
Malnutrition among the older population of America is as prevalent as it is in the entire world. Despite being the Number 1 country across the globe in terms of power and prestige, statistics don’t make it look too good when you consider the fate of its old and infirm citizens.
33% of every million elderly admitted to hospitals suffer from nutrition-related diseases. Everything boils down to inadequate food intake therefore and can be corrected by taking a few necessary steps pertaining to senior care.
You may be flabbergasted to find out that your elderly father suffers from malnutrition. You are in a shock as you do everything possible to ensure home care nutrition by bringing him to the dining table during meal times and make sure that he takes his medication diligently.
Simply feeding him won’t be enough. You must keep an eye on both the quantity as well as the quality of regimen. The professionals who offer home care solutions for the elderly will be able to educate you about the how’s and why’s of malnutrition that is likely to leave your father frail and weakened. Doctors advise opting for a professional in-home care provider who has both the knowledge as well as the expertise for tackling such a situation.
The in-home caregiver may not have an inkling of the real cause of the problem though. She will, however, keep trying to force feed him at times and end up upsetting him. This is likely to affect him mentally as well. You definitely need to coax him to open up about his problems or allow the caregiver to communicate with him closely.
It might not be as simple as stuffing him with a huge quantity of food either. Geriatric pros believe it to be a combination of physical, psychological as well as social issues that result in severe malnutrition.
Here are some of the common issues that cause a senior citizen to consume less of food thereby lacking the required amount of nutrition.
Going through the details below will help you identify and try and solve it at the earliest in order to ascertain the health of your old and weakened parent.
- Health Issues – Elderly individuals lose the will to eat due to dementia at times. Loss of teeth and gum problem may also make them unable to chew properly causing them to refuse food often. Recovering from chronic illness or a feeling of loneliness may also keep them off food thus affecting the nutrition. It would help to question your father and get to the root of the issue. Solving it becomes easy once you know how to minimize the issue.
- Dietary Restrictions – If your father suffers from diabetes or has high blood pressure than he is certainly not alone. These happen to be common age-related conditions that need them follow a diet sans salt, sugar and many other nutritive substances that help in nourishing the body. It might be best to get a dietitian prescribe supplements to replenish the diet, therefore.
- Social Life – An old person loses touch with his friends because most of them live too far away. Unfortunately, your father is also likely to find many of his old friends dead and gone. He becomes despondent and pines for the lost years when he had enjoyed living life to the fullest. Lack of friends and companions forces him to eat alone, and he often leaves the food uneaten as he has lost his appetite.
Depression is more likely to affect his mood when he lives on his own with no one to talk to. The grief and lack of companionship along with ill health will often make him forgo his food completely. Be sure to ask the live-in caregiver to keep him engaged and happy. Enjoying his favorite activities with a person who takes good care of him is sure to make him happy. He is bound to find life interesting once again.
Malnutrition in seniors is something to worry about.
If there’s no one around your loved ones and you’re concerned about their food habits, contact us at (877) 698-9394 to know more about how to get things back on track. You could also inquire about in-home care options that will take care of every aspect of your elderly loved one.