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Reasons Aging Adults May Become Malnourished

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Malnutrition is a common senior health issue that can lead to other serious problems such as illnesses and broken bones, and it occurs when a senior doesn’t get enough calories, nutrients, carbohydrates, fats, and protein each day. Even seniors who routinely eat large meals can end up with malnutrition if they don’t eat the right types of foods. Understanding the main risk factors for malnutrition can help you reduce the chances that it may affect your aging loved one.

Mobility Limitations

Mobility problems, such as not being able to stand up easily or grip things firmly, are often common in older adults, and these can lead to malnutrition issues. Seniors who have limited mobility may eat less because it’s difficult for them to visit the kitchen, make food, or feed themselves. In these situations, it may be helpful to have a caregiver who can fix meals, bring trays to your loved one, and help him or her eat if necessary. 

For seniors with extreme mobility issues, having a caregiver close by at all times can be a wonderful source of comfort and support. Some seniors only require help with a few daily tasks so they can maintain their independence. However, those living with serious illnesses may need more extensive assistance. Luckily, there is professional live-in care Allen, TX, seniors can rely on. Home can be a safer and more comfortable place for your loved one to live with the help of an expertly trained and dedicated live-in caregiver.

Cognitive Decline

Like limited mobility, cognitive decline makes it difficult for seniors to eat, so they may not get the right nutrients. Seniors who have some form of dementia or other type of cognitive decline may not even realize they’re hungry. Since cognitive decline makes multistep tasks challenging to carry out, seniors may find it difficult to fix even simple meals. In later stages of cognitive decline, conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease can reduce nutrition intake by making it difficult to swallow. You may need to provide high-calorie shakes and other liquid foods to encourage your loved one to eat enough.

Seniors with cognitive and nutritional issues can benefit from the help of a caregiver with training in methods that boost both physical and cognitive health. Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same type of at-home care. Allen families can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide individualized care plans to meet your elderly loved one’s unique care needs. Our holistic Balanced Care Method was designed to help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and our Cognitive Therapeutics Method offers mentally stimulating activities that can stave off cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia.

Depression

One of the main symptoms of depression in seniors is sudden weight loss. Depression and malnutrition are linked because feelings of hopelessness and purposelessness generated by depression can keep seniors from feeling motivated to eat. Seniors with depression tend to feel fatigued and easily overwhelmed, so when they do eat, they’re more likely to pick junk food or prepackaged food that isn’t filled with proper nutrients. Managing depression can be very challenging. Treatment involves a combination of medication and therapy, and caregivers need to encourage seniors to eat more.

Taking Multiple Medications

Seniors who take more than ten different medications per day have a higher risk of malnutrition. Taking a lot of drugs causes malnutrition through several mechanisms. Many medications cause nausea or loss of appetite, so seniors who experience these side effects are less likely to eat. Some medications can also cause drowsiness and memory issues that prevent seniors from remembering to eat. Managing this issue may require discussing alternative medications, dosages, or drug schedules with your loved one’s doctor.

If you’re concerned your loved one isn’t getting proper nutrition, consider enlisting the help of a highly trained professional caregiver. In Allen, home care agencies can be a great boon to seniors. With the help of the caregivers at Home Care Assistance, your aging loved one can lead a happier and healthier life. We offer a revolutionary program called the Balanced Care Method, which encourages seniors to eat nutritious foods, exercise and socialize regularly, and focus on other lifestyle factors that increase life expectancy. Call us today at (972) 548-0392 to discuss how we can give you the peace of mind that comes from knowing your loved one is being cared for with professionalism and compassion.

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