For reasons like limited income, dementia and poor mobility many Americans aged 65-and-over suffer from malnutrition. Seniors who don’t eat a nutrient-rich diet are more likely to experience serious health problems, and, sadly, some even lose their freedom and independence as a result. If you’re currently looking after an aging-in-place senior here’s why proper nutrition is so important for them, along with ways to ensure they get the daily nutrients their body needs.
Nutritional Deficiencies in the Elderly
The diets of many older Americans are nutrient-deficient because of:
- Loss of appetite
- Chewing or swallowing difficulties
- Lack of reliable transportation
- Poor mobility
- Changes to senses like taste and smell
- Limited income
- Social isolation
- Dementia or Alzheimer’s disease
Undernourished seniors commonly experience these health problems as a result:
- Vitamin deficiencies
- Muscle weakness
- Slow wound healing
- Weakened immune system
- Frail, gaunt appearance
- Vision loss
- Heart trouble
- Memory loss
- Greater risk for being hospitalized or dying
To make matters even worse nutritional deficiencies are oftentimes misdiagnosed because they can mimic other health problems commonly seen in the elderly.
How to Keep Your Senior Well-Nourished
Here’s how to help your senior stay well-nourished so they can enjoy a higher quality of life as the aging process moves forward:
Keep them active
The more active your loved one is the more likely they will be to have a healthy appetite. Encourage your senior to exercise regularly and attend social functions where good food and conversation will be shared with fellow seniors.
Talk to their doctor
Find out from your senior’s doctor if they have any health conditions or take any medications that might be interfering with nutrient absorption and appetite. For example, chemotherapy drugs can cause taste disturbances that makes eating unappealing. You can also speak to a dietician about creative ways to get your loved one the nourishment they need.
Prepare healthy meals
Many seniors who live alone don’t like to prepare meals. Changes to senses like taste and smell can also keep elders from eating like they should. Reenergize your loved one’s taste buds by preparing them some tasty dishes livened up with herbs and spices.
If chewing is a problem, take them to the dentist for a checkup. When swallowing is the issue try pureeing their food, serving nutritious broths or making some healthy smoothies in the blender.
Keeping Seniors Well Nourished Is Our Specialty
It’s hard to monitor your aging loved one’s eating habits and make sure they’re getting the proper nutrition they need when you can’t always be there. When you need an extended family in the home contact Home Instead Senior Care. As a fully licensed and insured home care agency our compassionate caregivers have the training and experience necessary to keep your elderly parent well nourished so they can continue aging safely and comfortably right where they want to be.
In addition to grocery shopping assistance and meals, our carefully screened aides can deliver family trusted in-home services like personal care, companionship care, household duties and even dementia care. Our agency’s mission is lifting the spirits of those we serve by offering them dependable and affordable home care options. To learn more about Home Instead Senior Care, or to schedule a FREE consultation for a senior in Naples, Fort Myers, Charlotte County, or the surrounding areas today, please visit us at: www.homeinsteadswfl.com!