The Dangers Of Malnutrition In Seniors And How Senior Home Care Can Help

Posted on: 11 March 2019

Aging in place means seniors are able to live in the place of their choice; it allows seniors to remain in the home and the community they have lived in for years. Familiarity and comfort are essential for helping seniors maintain their quality of life, but it is important to keep in mind that with aging also come difficulties. Senior nutrition is one of the most common concerns many families have for their senior loved ones who are living alone.

 As people age, and especially when seniors live alone, the idea of grocery shopping, meal preparations, and eating alone becomes overwhelming. Poor nutrition can have a significant effect on your senior loved one's quality of life, so it is important to recognize the signs that your elderly loved one is struggling with their daily eating habits. Here are a few of the dangers of seniors eating alone and how senior home care services can help.

Eating Alone and Malnutrition

Many seniors who eat alone don't eat as healthy as they would if they were having meals with a spouse, family member, or friend. Unfortunately, for many seniors, cooking for one simply doesn't have the same appeal as cooking for a spouse or family. This often results in seniors choosing to eat in front of the television, which may be distracting and cause them to be less mindful of their nutritional needs.

Malnutrition happens when there is a severe lack of nutrients in the body. Certain dietary restrictions combined with a limited income may make it challenging to find healthy foods. Certain health problems, such as dental issues, dementia, or medical conditions that affect swallowing or the absorption of nutrients can significantly increase the risk of malnutrition in seniors. Elderly adults that live alone may also lose interest in eating, or they may fill up on snacks and foods that don't provide the proper nutrients needed for good health.

Seniors who live and eat alone may experience significant weight loss. Although a slight decrease in appetite or a change in appetite is a natural part of aging, a sudden or a continual decline in weight may be a sign of a more serious problem. Certain mood disorders, such as depression, may increase the risk of malnutrition and weight loss. Poor nutrition may also lead to a range of other symptoms, such as weakness, fatigue, and heart and lung problems.

How Senior Home Care Services can Help

Senior home care services can be especially helpful for seniors that are unable or unwilling to shop for, prepare, and cook their own meals or those who prefer companionship while eating meals. Senior home care aides can help with all aspects of the meal planning process, including grocery shopping and cleaning up after meals. If you are concerned about your senior loved one's eating habits, hiring senior home care services can help to ensure that your loved ones nutritional needs are being met. Home care aids can accompany seniors to the grocery shop for nutritious foods, find appetizing recipes that cater to the senior's tastes and dietary needs, prepare and cook meals together, and socialize during meals.

Malnutrition in the elderly can lead to everything from severe anemia or bone loss and lack of energy to increased hospital admissions. It is important to understand why your senior loved one may be experiencing problems with their eating habits. Talking with your loved one may help you determine if the change in nutrition is due to a medical condition, loneliness, or the inability to complete certain tasks. Identifying the possible cause for their poor eating habits will allow you to help your senior loved one address the problem and find a solution.