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Malnutrition: A Serious Concern for Seniors

One out of every two older adults is at risk of becoming malnourished.

We all know that we feel better when we eat well. Good eating habits, and being mindful of healthy eating goals, can improve mental and physical health, and give us the energy we need to do the activities we love. 

Unfortunately, too many seniors are not having their nutritional needs met. Changes in our bodies as we age, and changing dietary needs, can make healthy eating more difficult for older adults. 

One in three hospital patients is malnourished upon admission and almost one-third of U.S. patients (31 percent) experiences declines in nutritional status while in the hospital.

The health risks associated with malnutrition can be especially concerning for seniors. Symptoms can include:

  • Weakened immune system
  • Poor wound healing
  • Muscle weakness
  • Weight loss
  • Dental issues

If engaging in good eating habits is a struggle, there are steps anyone can take to ensure that they are getting proper nutrition. In addition to consulting a physician about diet or health concerns, they can also try the following tactics to get back on the right track:

  • Make meals a social occasion – Sharing a meal is one of the most enjoyable ways to ensure that someone is eating well. This can look like making something healthy and delicious for others or reaching out to people that love to cook healthy food and offering them your company.
  • Make healthy eating fit your budget – Good food doesn’t have to be expensive. A doctor or nutritionist can point patients to budget friendly, nutritious food options. And, maintaining a healthy lifestyle saves money on medical care in the future.
  • Shop for healthy foods – Having a kitchen stocked with healthy snacks and meal options is one of the most important steps to maintaining a balanced diet. 
  • Encourage people to ask for help – If someone you know has concerns about their ability to plan healthy meals, shop for the groceries or if they just aren’t getting the nutrition they need, tell them to ask for help! In-home caregivers, delivery services, family, friends and medical professionals can all help older adults reach their nutrition goals.

For those concerned about their nutrition, or the eating habits of a senior loved one, speaking to a medical professional is critical. 


Comfort Keepers® Can Help

For seniors struggling to maintain healthy eating habits, Comfort Keepers caregivers can help with meal planning, grocery shopping, meal preparation and support for physician-prescribed diets. Our custom care plans focus on physical and mental health and wellness activities. Our goal is to see that clients have the means to find the joy and happiness in each day, regardless of age or acuity.

To learn more about our in-home care services, contact your local Comfort Keepers location today.


References

Feeding America. “Facts about Senior Hunger in America.” Web. 

Mayo Clinic. “Senior health: How to prevent and detect malnutrition.” Web. 2017.

Next Avenue, “Malnutrition is Affecting Too Many Older Adults.” Web. 2016. 

Public Health Post. “Malnutrition in Older Adults.” Web. 2017
 Healthline. “How Your Nutritional Needs Change as you Age.” Web. 2017.

 

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