Taking Steps to Prevent Senior Malnutrition

As loved ones age, it is important for them to follow recommendations regarding appropriate senior nutrition. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s report on healthy eating among Americans age 60 and older, 68% needed improvement in their diet and less than a third regularly eat from the five recommended food groups. Cognitive issues, dental problems, swallowing disorders, depression and other underlying health conditions make seniors more susceptible to malnourishment. According to the National Institutes of Health, good nutrition for the elderly helps to reduce the risks of osteoporosis, heart disease, high blood pressure and some forms of cancer. Good nutrition for seniors is an important fundamental for aging in place and overall healthy aging.

Why is nutrition important as you age?

  • Good nutrition can help you live longer and be stronger.
  • Good nutrition helps keep muscles, bones, and organs strong.
  • Good nutrition can help sharpen the mind and may enhance memory and mental alertness.
  • Good nutrition can increase your energy level and improve your overall appearance.

How can you help your loved one avoid malnutrition and follow a healthy lifestyle/

  • Encourage your loved to eat smaller portioned meals more frequently throughout the day.
  • Eat meals more often with your elderly loved ones.
  • Call your loved one to ensure that they are eating well and staying hydrated.
  • Utilize outside services to deliver meals to the senior’s home.
  • Engage home care or other caregiving services to help a loved one who can’t prepare meals.
  • Consult a doctor or other appropriate medical professional to discover the reason for loss of appetite.
  • Make eating easier by encouraging milkshakes, smoothies, pre-packaged drinks and protein bars.
  • Encourage variety in foods.

What are some possible warning signs for malnutrition?

  • Weight loss
  • Increased falling
  • Changes in senior’s mouth, skin, eyes and hair
  • Dental changes which may contribute to difficulty when eating
  • Physical impairments such as immobility
  • Increased depression
  • Financial changes
  • Increased confusion

Good nutrition is important to everyone, but especially to seniors. Identifying signs and symptoms of malnutrition in seniors is essential to avoid potential health problems, helping your loved one lives healthy and happy life. For more information on preventing senior malnutrition, call Abramson Care Advisors at 215-371-3400.