When caring for an aging parent or loved one, there are some things that we need to look for to make sure that they are getting the care they need, and that we notice the signs that something might not be quite right. As our loved ones age, certain things can become more difficult, such as cooking and shopping. Malnutrition is a really big problem for seniors and can cause a variety of health problems or forms of physical deterioration.
It is important that you keep an eye out for the signs of malnutrition in seniors, so you can step in and get them the help they need before they experience more negative consequences. Sometimes, it is a matter of not being able to get to the store, or having difficulties with cooking. Other times, it could simply be a product of forgetting. In any case, if a senior is showing signs of malnutrition, they need to see a doctor and have the issues surrounding food corrected, as soon as possible.
What follow are some of the biggest warning signs that a senior is suffering from poor nutrition.
- Weight loss – This is the most obvious and most visual sign that seniors are not getting the nutrition that they need. If you notice that the senior in your life is losing weight quickly, and there is no associated medical condition that would explain the loss in weight, there is a good chance that they are not getting proper nutrition. It could be as a result of not getting enough to eat, or not enough of the right things to eat like protein and fats. If you are unsure as to whether the senior’s weight loss might be as a result of an underlying medical condition, it is advised to take them to the doctor to rule this possibility out.
- Empty Pantry/Fridge; Spoiled Items – If you visit your loved one and you start to notice that their pantry is regularly low on food or even empty, this might be a sign that they aren’t eating or shopping for food. Another sign related directly to food is the presence of spoiled food in their refrigerator. This indicates that they did not get to the food before it went bad and it might be time for you to ask the senior in your life a few questions about their memory and their mobility. Perhaps the senior is unable to get to the store as they can no longer provide themselves with transportation. It might also be that preparing food has become too difficult for them. They may also forget to eat, or may be having a reaction to medication that is causing a severe loss of appetite.
- Depression – Sometimes the signs of malnutrition are not outward. Malnutrition can actually cause depression or at least depression-like symptoms. If you notice that the senior in your life is exhibiting signs of depression, inquire about their diet, ability to obtain, as well as cook food.
- Fatigue and other health problems – When seniors aren’t getting the nutrition that they need, their bodies do not have the fuel they need to function optimally. As a result, they are likely to experience more fatigue than is normal. Seniors who are not getting the proper nutrition are also more likely to have dental problems that are exacerbated by poor nutrition. Bruising easily is another common sign of malnutrition in seniors. If you notice that the senior in your life is getting more bruises than usual, and that they are taking longer than is normal to heal, this is a big red flag that they aren’t getting the proper nutrition. There are many other health problems that can result due to malnutrition including acid reflux, and even more major issues in rare cases.
At Carefect Homecare services, we understand that the needs of seniors are wide and varied. If you have noticed that the senior in your life is showing signs of poor nutrition, contact us today. We will provide a free, in home assessment that can help you figure out a plan of action as to how to provide the senior in your life the care they need. We are here to help you help the senior in your life, in whatever way possible.