Learn The Signs Of Malnutrition Among Seniors And What You Can do to Help

Malnutrition can lead to a host of physical and emotional problems, from immune system and muscle weakness to depression.

The elderly with poor nutrition are more likely to be admitted to hospitals or long-term care facilities if they have experienced illness, dementia or weight loss.  Take time to familiarize yourself with malnutrition causes, signs and solutions, to help promote your loved one’s health and longevity.

Warning Signs & Causes of Malnutrition Among Seniors
  • Have you noticed your loved one’s clothes fitting more loosely?
  • Is she experiencing dental problems?
  • Does he bruise easily?
  • Do wounds take longer than normal to heal?
  • Is there a lack of interest in going out to eat?
  • Are there signs of depression?
  • Do you notice a lack of energy (due to malnutrition)?
  • Has the person had a recent illness or stay in the hospital?
  • Have you noticed a loss of appetite?
  • Is there out of date food in the fridge?
  • Is the person’s skin dry, cracked and flaky?
  • Do you notice memory issues?
  • Is the person taking (new) medications?
There are 6 million malnourished seniors in the U.S.
Malnutrition can be caused by social and psychological factors as well as physical. If your loved one has little social contact, she may not enjoy cooking or eating meals. If she’s living on a limited income, she may have trouble affording groceries, especially fresh, healthy foods.

Depression, which is common among the elderly because of grief and loss, health problems and limited mobility, can cause a loss of appetite. If an individual of any age uses alcohol to cope, it becomes a problem when used as a substitute for food or if it prevents nutrient absorption.

Diminished appetite is also caused by illness, trouble eating, some medications, and diminished taste and smell. Dietary restrictions that are often put on older adults can also make food seem tasteless and unappealing. Whether over-the-counter or prescription, drugs can affect appetite, digestion and how nutrients are absorbed.

                              Watch the video - how to recognize and prevent malnutrion in seniors

A first step to recognizing malnutrition is to learn your loved one’s eating habits. Spend mealtimes together, including everyday meals, not just holidays and special occasions. If your loved one lives alone, talk to the person who buys his groceries.

Malnutrition will eventually manifest itself in physical signs. Ask yourself the following:
  • Have you noticed your loved one’s clothes fitting more loosely?
  • Is she experiencing dental problems?
  • Does he bruise easily?
  • Do wounds take longer than normal to heal?

Early identification and treatment of nutrition problems can help your loved one get back on track.
  • Buy fresh, whole foods whenever possible. Include fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, low-fat dairy and healthy oils found in fish and nuts. Frozen foods are an acceptable alternative to fresh produce.

  • Shop for tools that encourage independence in the kitchen and allow for easier package opening.

  • Add flavor to foods using herbs, spices, salt-free blends and lemon juice.

  • Encourage snacking. Older adults may get full quickly at mealtimes, but snacking between meals on fruit, cheese or milk can provide nutrients and calories.

  • Make meals more social. Eat together whenever possible to boost spirits, and encourage your loved one to join programs or groups where he might eat with other seniors.

  • Help with grocery savings. Look for sales, shop together and split bulk foods.
  • Encourage light physical activity to stimulate appetite.

  • Give her the tools she needs for proper oral and dental care.
Remember, you are not alone. There are 6 million malnourished seniors in the U.S. according to a recent national study conducted by Meals on Wheels.  A dietitian can provide a nutrition plan and recipes.  And you can talk to your loved one’s doctor about medications, health problems or weight loss, and nutrition supplementation.

Now there is a new option to consider – home delivery of freshly prepared meals.  When should you consider this option?
  • When your parent(s) aren’t eating a healthy diet (candy, chips, etc.) 
  • Post hospital discharge
  • Managing a chronic illness
  • Desiring to stay in their home

The CareGiver Partnership has teamed up with Mom’s Meals and is now offering freshly prepared and home delivered meals. Each is individually created by a chef and registered dietician to ensure the meals have the right nutritional value for seniors on regular diets, or those needing low sodium, low fat, gluten-free, vegetarian, or low carbohydrate options.

Each meal is just $5.99 plus shipping.
  • Less than pizza delivery and much healthier - plus you save on the high cost of gas.
  • Mix or match – choose only what you like to eat.
  • Convenient home delivery is a flat $14.95 for 10, 14 or 21 weekly meals. The cost per meal for the 21 meal plan including convenient home delivery is only $6.70.
Mom’s Meals is family-owned and each of its meals are based on nutritional guidelines which specifically meet the needs of the elderly. Menus may be customized from dozens of options and meals are delivered in packages that stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to 14 days.

Now you can enjoy the peace of mind knowing that your parents are eating well every day.

To Learn More Call 1-866-825-6067 
 Get a Free Meal With First Order
Call and mention "caregiver"
Order Online and enter code '

Founder, The CareGiver Partnership
Lynn Wilson founded The CareGiver Partnership based on her experience in caring for loved ones as well as providing the highest level of customer service. She takes pride in offering personalized service that helps her customers find the best solutions for their individual needs. Now that her children are grown, Lynn enjoys spending time with her granddaughter while also helping to care for her mom. To find out how The CareGiver Partnership can serve you, call 1-800-985-1353 M-F 9-4 CDT.


Nancy Oppenheimer-Marks said...

This is great information on malnutrition among seniors. Everyday, we deal with different food-related issues where seniors struggle with a prober diet.

Here is a blog post about diet and heart disease I think your readers might find useful. http://centraldallas.myhomecareblog.com/2011/02/diet-and-heart-disease/

Thanks for sharing,
Home Instead Senior Care
Dallas, TX

Medicare Tips said...

That is excellent. And a really great idea. How wide is the coverage of this service?

CareGiver Partnership said...

Thank you for the comments. We are offering this on a national level. The first major marketing activity will kick off in January.

Starting Seeds Indoors said...

I was caregiver for my wife several years and had a hard time finding things she wanted to eat. It was a constant struggle. However, she did indicate an interest in her gardening hobby and through manipulation of circumstances I was able to give her access to this. She also wanted to walk again so I built parallel bars for her to wheel up to. That didn't work as she was too weak, but our five year old daughter performed enough monkey-shines on them to keep us laughing. Simple things are big events when the meaning of life becomes precious.

Lisa said...

We should do all we can to prevent malnutrition, most particularly for seniors. It may be a difficult decision to put a beloved parent in a nursing home, but if it's for the best, you should. These meals would provide nourishment for them.

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