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Home Care Nutrition Tips: How to Prevent Malnutrition for Seniors

Sep 26, 2018 by Comfort Keepers

Malnutrition Awareness Week 2018 is coming to a close, yet there are ongoing takeaways you can learn from the campaign to help in caring for your senior loved ones. It can be crucial to the health and wellness of your loved one to know the signs and symptoms of malnutrition in seniors. This can help you avoid serious medical problems or prolonged treatment of an existing medical problem.

Malnutrition Awareness Week aims to raise awareness about the detrimental effects malnutrition can have on an individual and how it can prolong sickness and recovery times, especially in the elderly. During Malnutrition Awareness Week, healthcare professionals, patients, senior home care providers, and anyone looking to raise awareness is welcome to access informative materials.

The American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition provide an array of useful resources to help educate professionals as well as family members looking to self-educate about nutrition care. This year, there will be podcasts, webinars, virtual chats with experts, and support materials available to anyone who is interested. The overall goal of the week is to spread awareness about the possible adverse outcomes of malnutrition and hopefully avoid the issue by identifying the signs early on by promoting nutritional support in everyone, especially seniors.

Malnutrition Awareness Week started in 2012 and has grown immensely since. This year, over 43 organizations are supporting the efforts and celebrating the week by informing over 1 million people with their resources. The week of awareness has even been officially recognized and observed by the National Health Observance Calendar. However, malnutrition should not only be recognized on September 24th till the 28th, but it should also be a year-round recognition.

Malnutrition Awareness Week isn't the only time highlighting the importance of proper nutrition. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics observe March as the ‘National Nutrition Month’ every year. It focuses on nutritional issues and how to reach solutions, but it primarily focuses on the elderly who lack proper nutritional support. Home care nutrition is a key aspect of caregiving and home care services that Comfort Keepers of Fort Myers places at the core of its health services.

Malnutrition in seniors is a major issue faced in this country. Despite being known as the Number 1 country across the globe regarding leadership and influence, statistics don’t reflect similarly when you acknowledge the fate of its seniors' health.

33% of every million elderly citizens admitted to the hospital sustain nutrition-related illnesses. Everything comes down to inadequate food intake and can be corrected by taking the necessary steps in senior care nutrition support.

You may be astounded to learn that your elderly loved one suffers from malnutrition. It can be especially shocking if you do everything in your power to ensure proper home care nutrition support. You may even bring them to the dining table during meal times and make sure that they take their medication regularly.

Merely feeding your loved one isn't enough. You must monitor the amount of food eaten as well as the quality of the foods eaten. Seniors need a high protein diet and proper fluid intake. Professionals who offer home care nutrition services to the elderly will be able to educate you about malnutrition that is likely to affect your loved one. Doctors recommend opting for long-term care from a professional in-home care service provider who has both the knowledge as well as the experience to tackle a problem like so.

The in-home caregiver may not be able to asses the root cause of malnutrition in your loved one. However, they will communicate closely with your loved one and establish companionship. This could be beneficial in getting them to open up about their issues or to identify any mental problems your loved one may be experiencing such as depression. Depression has been linked to poor appetite which leads to weight loss.

The answer might not be as simple as force feeding your loved one with a massive amount of food. Geriatric professionals believe it to be a combination of lifestyle habits that contribute to senior malnutrition such as physical, psychological as well as social issues.

Below are listed common issues that can contribute to a senior citizen's lack of food consumption leading to the lack of required amounts of nutrition.

The details below may aid you in identifying and potentially solving the issue of malnutrition in your elderly loved one.

Health Issues – Elderly individuals lose interest in eating sometimes because of dementia. Problems with teeth, dentures, and gums may also make them unable to chew correctly making eating an inconvenience and annoyance. Recovering from chronic illness or hospitalization could have impacted your loved one's diet. Depression or anxiety also affects the appetite in someone, which could lead to lack of interest and consumption of food.

Dietary Restrictions – If your loved one has diabetes or has high blood pressure they are not alone. These health conditions are fairly common age-related conditions that require someone to follow an adjusted diet. They must follow a diet sans salt, sugar and many other ingredients that help in fueling the body. It is highly suggested to get a dietitian to prescribe supplements that replace the nutrients lost from a specific diet.

Social Life – The elderly often lose touch with his or her friends because most of them move or live too far away to visit. Unfortunately, it is also likely to find many of their old friends have passed away due to illness or old age. Seniors often become depressed and long for the years when they were able to live life to the fullest. The depressed and isolated mindset usually leads to loss of appetite and interest in eating. Depression is more likely to affect someone's mood when he or she is living on their own with no one to interact with. Having the live-in caregiver helps in keeping seniors socially engaged and happy. They are able to enjoy their favorite activities with a person who takes good care of them and supports them. This allows for seniors to find joy and interest in everyday life again.

Malnutrition in seniors can be detrimental to their health. If there’s no one around to care for your loved one and you’re concerned about their nutrition and eating habits, contact us at (239) 900-9771 to learn more about our in-home senior care services.


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