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Elder Care Nutrition
A sad fact, as reported by the Mayo Clinic, is that an increasing number of older adults who live independently either are or are at risk of being under-nourished or malnourished. Sometimes it can be very difficult to spot the signs of malnutrition in seniors because we are only used to picturing malnourished people as being painfully thin, sad-looking and lethargic. However, this is not necessarily true. A senior could be smiling, outgoing, and even a little on the plump side and still not be getting the nutrients they need. When you are concerned with elder care for an elderly loved one, the difficult part is being able to spot seniors who are under-nourished even though they appear to be fine.
WATCH Out! A Helpful Mnemonic
Comfort Keepers, proving caregivers who give professional and companionate in-home elder care service, is using the memory device called WATCH to give families some helpful advice on how to watch out for malnutrition in their elderly loved ones. What does WATCH stand for? Good question! Watch, Ask, Talk, Check and Have.
Watch for physical issues or problems that your elderly loved one may be having. Check for bruises, problems with their teeth or fast and unexpected loss or gain in weight.
Don't be afraid or embarrassed to talk to seniors about what they eat. This is one of the issues at the forefront of elder care nutrition concerns. Ask them if they feel like they are eating enough and if their food habits have changed. Have they noticed that they prefer different food or that their food has started tasting differently?
Discuss diets with a dietitian or doctor, and learn more about nutrition and diet needs for seniors. These helpful people will be happy to give you a list of foods that seniors need to be eating as well as nutrition information specific to your elderly loved one.
Stop into a pharmacist and see if they have any warnings for you about food and drug interactions that you may not be aware of. Medication may be interfering with a senior's diet.
If you are going to be visiting a senior, why not visit during mealtime? This will give you the perfect opportunity to observe what they are eating and to make sure that they are getting what they need. Plus, it's always a fun time to share a meal together with an elderly loved one.
Using the WATCH Mnemonic, you can do your part to cut down on the number of seniors suffering from malnutrition.