3 Potential Causes of Malnutrition in Seniors

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3 Potential Causes of Malnutrition in Seniors

potential causes malnutrition seniors

There are several important areas for family members or caregivers of aging seniors to keep an eye on as part of their care, and one at or near the top of the list in every case is basic nutrition. Some seniors will struggle with certain areas of their overall nutrition, whether it’s taking trips to the store to buy their own groceries, cooking safely or maintaining the energy for proper meals each day.

At Cozy Retire, our assisted living facility features staff members well-trained in not only senior nutrition areas, but also numerous other high-quality care themes. Our senior living staff take great care to assist all our guests with any nutritional assistance they need, whether it’s help with eating, motivation or any other related area to help maintain a healthy diet and avoid issues of malnutrition that sometimes become a greater risk during senior years. In this two-part blog series, we’ll discuss some of the primary causes of senior malnutrition, then dig into why malnutrition is such a risk for seniors and what can be done – whether at home or in an assisted living facility – to help avoid it.

Physical Concerns

Likely the most common underlying cause of senior malnutrition is a physical issue of some kind that makes eating, cooking or even shopping for food uncomfortable and difficult. There are several potential examples of this sort of issue in seniors:

  • Illness: Various illnesses or inflammations in the body may change appetite and how the body is able to process nutrients from food.
  • Ability to eat: Some seniors struggle with chewing or swallowing, while others may have dental issues or dexterity concerns that make using utensils tougher.
  • Dementia: Various memory or behavioral issues may result in several diet-related issues.
  • Medications: Some medications seniors take may limit their appetite or ability to properly absorb nutrients.
  • Food access: Limited mobility may lead to limited food access for some seniors without assistance.
  • Age-related changes: Finally, some simply undergo changes to their taste, smell and overall appetite as they age, making eating habits and enjoyment of this process more difficult.

Psychological Concerns

There are also several psychological areas that may impact senior nutritional habits. These can include everything from grief and depression to isolation, feelings of loneliness and extreme anxiety. Some seniors struggle with their loss of independence in ways that impact their diet and nutrition, as well.

Social Concerns

Finally, some seniors struggle with nutrition due to social concerns of various types. Many prefer limited social contact, a factor that’s been exacerbated by the recent disease outbreak around the glove, and those who eat alone may lose their enjoyment sooner than others. In addition, some seniors deal with limited income situations that hamper their ability to properly provide for themselves.

For more on how our assisted living staff help seniors keep a healthy and nutritious diet, or to learn about any of our senior living or memory care programs, speak to the staff at Cozy Retire today.