In part one of this two-part blog series, we went over three of the broad cause categories when it comes to senior malnutrition. Some seniors struggle with parts of their nutrition due to various physical, psychological or social issues, but caregivers or family members – along with seniors themselves – can take several prudent steps to work around these concerns.
At Cozy Retire, we’re proud to offer numerous caring assisted living services, including nutritional assistance and several related themes for any of our residents who need some help here. We’ve assisted many seniors who have struggled with malnutrition in the past, often with assistance from their family or caregivers. Today’s part two of our series will go over some of the possible results of malnutrition in seniors, plus some important themes for preventing this from happening.
Common Results of Senior Malnutrition
In part one, we went over many of the causes of senior malnutrition. If such conditions are allowed to persist, some of the negative results seniors may experience include:
- Healing: Seniors with improper nutrition often will not heal normally, whether we’re talking wounds or some other issue.
- Immune system: Down similar lines, the body’s immune system is impacted by malnutrition, often leading to increased disease and infection risk.
- Weakness: Both muscles and bones will weaken as a result of malnutrition, and when combined with additional senior risks in these areas, the potential for falls and injuries is far higher.
- Hospitalization and death: And when seniors with poor nutrition become sick, they are more likely to be hospitalized or even for their life to be at risk.
Preventing Senior Malnutrition
If you’re a caregiver or family member of a senior who may have malnutrition concerns, there are luckily several steps you can take to prevent such risks. Many of these themes are also observed by our assisted living staff, and they include the following areas:
- Observation: Without invading on personal space, observe basic nutrition areas like how much food is eaten, habits and other areas.
- Meal plans: For seniors who struggle to make their own food or stick to consistent eating habits, help promote schedules, shopping lists and advanced planning. There are many at-home services that will also assist with this, such as food delivery or others.
- Weight: Help a senior loved on check their weight, plus track it over time.
- Medications: As medications may impact nutrition in a few areas, you should also track these – the proper dosages, schedules and how various medications may affect appetite.
- Exercise: Wherever possible and realistic, encourage physical activity to trigger the appetite and keep bones and muscles healthy.
Down related lines, family members or caregivers can also play a role in promoting nutritious food choices. A few themes:
- Nutrients: Things like fruits and veggies, whole grains, lean meats and fish all have high levels of quality nutrients.
- Snacks: For those who like to snack between meals, consider low-fat dairy or various fruits and vegetables first.
- Flavor: If your loved one prefers more variety in meals, utilize herbs and spices to mix it up.
- Supplements: For seniors who struggle with calory intake or certain nutrients they don’t get enough of, various supplements or nutritional drinks are a great resource.
For more on senior malnutrition avoidance, or for any of our assisted living or memory care services, speak to the senior living staff at Cozy Retire today.