Remember weekend dinners at Grandma’s house, when the entire family came together round the table to share a hearty meal, conversations, and laughter? Regrettably, with many families now living at a distance from their older relatives, combined with so many urgent needs pulling us in numerous directions, it is difficult to continue this tradition – and it may be one of the many factors adding to the dramatic upsurge in senior malnutrition.
Up to 25% of all seniors in the U.S. are malnourished, leading to critical health issues. For quite a few older adults who live alone, they just are not motivated to cook properly on their own. Others are suffering from grief, depression, anxiety, cognitive difficulties, poverty, medication side effects, and more.
Whatever the underlying factors, seniors who are malnourished face compromised immune systems, longer and much more complicated hospital stays, readmissions, and earlier mortality. And detecting malnutrition isn’t as easy as noticing weight loss in a senior; those who appear healthy or maybe even overweight can also be struggling with malnourishment issues.
One main element of uncovering senior malnutrition and subsequently addressing it lies in the hands of the medical community. Seniors ought to be screened for nutrition issues by their primary care physician, and a dietary plan set up. When hospitalized, hospital personnel should also look into any potential nutritional needs, and include their findings and a recommended course of action in discharge paperwork to be reviewed with both care providers and the senior’s doctor.
Family members also play a vital role in ensuring the nutritional needs of the senior family members are met, as well as in helping uncover the primary cause if problems are discovered. As an example, if monetary concerns are preventing the older adult from maintaining a healthy eating plan, he or she may be eligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. At this time, as many as three out of five older adults that quality for the program are not utilizing its benefits.
It is crucial to concentrate on signs that your elderly family member may possibly not be following a healthier eating plan, and to talk about any concerns with the senior’s doctor. And turn to CareWorks Health Services in Orange County for support in establishing better nutritional habits for the senior loved one. We can plan and prepare balanced meals, pick up groceries and ensure there are healthy food choices options in the fridge and pantry all of the time, and provide friendly companionship that will make mealtime more pleasing.