Remember Sunday dinners at the grandparents’, whenever the whole family came together round the table to have a hearty meal, chitchat, and laughter? Regrettably, with many families now living far away from their older family members, and with so many pressing needs pulling us in different directions, it’s difficult to keep on with this tradition – and it could be one of the numerous factors adding to the dramatic upsurge in senior malnutrition.
Up to 25% of all senior citizens in the U.S. are malnourished, resulting in critical health issues. For some older adults who live alone, they simply aren’t motivated to cook properly for themselves. Others are experiencing grief, depression, anxiety, cognitive difficulties, poverty, medication side effects, and more and can’t begin to think about ways to prevent malnutrition.
Regardless of the underlying factors, seniors who are malnourished experience compromised immune systems, longer and much more complicated hospital stays, readmissions, and earlier mortality. And revealing malnutrition isn’t as simple as observing weight loss in a senior; those who appear healthy and even overweight can also be fighting with malnourishment problems.
One main element of uncovering senior malnutrition and then addressing it lies in the hands of the healthcare community. Seniors should always be screened for nutrition issues by their primary care doctor, and a dietary plan put in place. When hospitalized, hospital personnel should also consider any potential nutritional requirements, and include their findings and a recommended course of action in discharge paperwork to be reviewed with both caregivers and the senior’s physician.
Loved ones also play an important role in ensuring the nutritional needs of the senior family members are met, and in helping uncover the primary cause if problems are discovered. For example, if financial concerns are preventing the older adult from maintaining a healthy diet plan, he or she may qualify for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Currently, up to three out of five older adults that qualify for the program are not using its benefits.
It’s essential to concentrate on signs that your senior family member may possibly not be sticking to a healthy eating plan, and to discuss any concerns with the senior’s doctor. You can also turn to Endeavor Home Care for help in establishing better nutritional habits for your senior loved one. We are able to plan and prepare balanced meals, pick up groceries and make certain there are balanced diet options in the fridge and pantry all of the time. Our caregivers also provide friendly companionship, which makes mealtime for your senior family member more pleasurable. To learn more about our San Diego home health services, call us at (619) 535-6000 or contact us online.