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Why is Malnutrition Common Among Seniors?

August 30th, 2016

Elder Care in North Palm Beach FL

Elder Care in North Palm Beach FLA minimum of 30 percent of the older adult population throughout the United States is suffering from malnutrition. This means that the senior is not getting adequate nutrition to support their health and functioning. This does not necessarily mean that they are not eating enough, but instead that they are choosing foods that are not giving then the nutrients that their body needs. Malnutrition can put your aging parent at higher risk of a wide variety of serious health complications and concerns, including increased vulnerability to illness and infection, cognitive issues, and heart disease. Understanding why this issue is so common among elderly adults can help you to identify the particular risks that your aging parent is facing so that you can help them to overcome these risks and improve their health for the long term.

Some of the reasons that malnutrition is so common among seniors include:
• Diminished sense of taste and smell. Diminished acuity of taste and smell are common among older adults. This is a normal part of aging, but if it becomes severe it can contribute to your parent no longer being interested in eating. These issues can also increase the chances that your aging parent will reach for less-healthy choices such as those with high sugar, salt, or fat content to make them more pleasurable to eat.
• Lower appetite. Older adults tend to have lower calorie needs and experience diminished appetite. This can be a natural reaction to aging, but it can also be caused or exacerbated by certain medical conditions, medications, and treatments. When this happens your parent will be less interested in eating and may fill up on less healthy foods first, not giving them "room" for the healthy foods that they need.
• Cognitive limitations and challenges. It a common effect of cognitive limitations and challenges such as come along with Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia for a person to experience malnutrition. This happens for a variety of reasons. Your parent might not remember that they need to eat or they might think that they have already eaten. They might feel the pangs of hunger, but not understand what those feelings are or what they are supposed to do to resolve them. If they do understand that they are supposed to eat, they might eat unhealthy foods or substances that are not truly food, such as large amounts of sugar.
• Loneliness. Loneliness and isolation are common causes of malnutrition because your senior might lose their motivation to prepare full meals just for themselves, or may not want to sit alone and eat a full meal. Instead they reach for convenience foods that they can eat quickly and with little preparation.

If you have noticed signs that your aging parent is suffering from malnutrition or are concerned that they might be at increased risk, starting elder care for them can be a fantastic way to help them live a healthier lifestyle. This elderly home care services provider can take the specific issues that are causing your loved one to be at increased risk for malnutrition and use them to create a personalized approach to care and management tailored toward helping your parent live a lifestyle that is safe, healthy, comfortable, and as independent as possible.

Source
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-b-blancato/senior-malnutrition-a-nat_b_6832238.html
http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/caregivers/in-depth/senior-health/art-20044699?pg=2
If you or an aging loved one are considering elder care in North Palm Beach, FL, contact the caring staff at BrightStar Care of Jupiter. Call today (561) 741-1200.