How to Prevent Malnutrition in Aging Adults
Good nutrition is important for everyone. It is especially important for older adults with chronic illnesses or those suffering from dementia. Unfortunately, elderly people are vulnerable to malnutrition, even while living in a nursing home. Looking out for your aging relatives can help ensure they receive proper nutrition.
Why Do the Elderly Become Malnourished?
Older adults may eat less, or eat unhealthy foods if their ability to shop or cook starts to decline. If they are lonely or grieving the loss of a spouse, they may not feel like eating. If they are worried about money, they may cut back on buying food.
Some health conditions can cause loss of appetite. Decreased sense of taste or smell, problems swallowing, and even depression or anxiety can all cut down on their desire to eat. Even if they are eating enough, some medications may interfere with the ability to absorb nutrients from food.
Elderly people living in nursing homes may become malnourished when the staff does not take proper care of them. This type of neglect can happen when nursing homes are short-staffed and unable to give patients the attention and care they need. Neglect is definitely a form of nursing home abuse.
How You Can Prevent Malnutrition
Start by being alert to possible signs of malnutrition, including:
- Weight Loss
- Slow-Healing Wounds
- Loss of Muscle Strength
Also, pay attention to psychological changes, such as the onset of depression. If your loved one lives at home, visit at mealtimes to see what and how much your loved one is eating.
You can also check the cabinets and refrigerator to see how much food is on hand. If your loved one needs help, consider getting a home health aide or signing up with community organizations such as Meals on Wheels. If there is a senior center nearby that prepares and serves lunch, that can be a good alternative too, with the added bonus that it provides the opportunity to socialize.
If your loved one is in a nursing home, visit at mealtimes and observe what they are eating and if they are getting any needed help.
Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers Fighting for You
If you suspect a nursing home is not doing what it needs to keep your loved one properly nourished, contact the nursing home abuse lawyers at Garcia & Artigliere. We have dedicated lawyers with experience fighting these kinds of cases. Call us at (800) 328-2630 for a free consultation.