They say as you grow old, the number of health issues increases. Cardiovascular diseases, arthritis, difficulty in movement, weakening eyesight and major weight loss are some issues mostly reported by seniors. If you know any seniors who complain about one issue or another and are thinking that it is just because of their old age, it might not be 100% true! Most of these issues can be a sign of undernutrition. How? Let's find out.
Undernutrition among Elderly People
In England, almost 3 million people are estimated to be malnourished. Whereas this number is reported to be 462 million across the world.
Malnutrition refers to a state where a person doesn't acquire the necessary nutrients needed for a healthy body. They are usually deficient in proteins, vitamins, and minerals which has a significant effect on their body and their ability to perform functions properly. Besides impaired body function, delayed healing, higher frailty, and increased mortality are some often reported issues with malnutrition.
Malnourished people exert an added burden on the cost of healthcare. We have reports saying that malnourished individuals are 3-4 times more expensive to treat. It is because they develop various conditions as a result of undernutrition and thus require advanced, high-level care. The best way to avoid such unpleasant consequences is to detect malnutrition among older adults in time and replenish their nutrient content with a healthy diet. This is how you can do this.
Spotting Undernutrition among Elders
The most common signs of malnutrition are as follows:
- Sudden weight loss
- Feeling weak and lethargic
- Loss of appetite
- Swelling or accumulation of fluid in certain body parts
- Eating a small amount of meal even after long hours
If any of the seniors at your place have these signs, they might be missing their essential diet and nutrients. Further confirmatory signs include difficult swallowing of food, poor dental health i.e. missing teeth, issues with mobility and movement, and development of various chronic illnesses with time. Some other common indicators in elderly adults are loose clothing, jewelry, dentures, a disinterest in food and drink, exhaustion, a change in mood, etc.
BMI or body mass index can be very helpful in detecting malnutrition. It is the measure of body fat based on your weight and height. A person having a BMI below 18.5 is said to be under-nourished. They might undergo an unintentional weight loss and may end up losing 5-10 % of their weight in a time span of three to six months.
However, recognizing the indicators of malnutrition is not always simple. This is due to the fact that it might occur gradually over a lengthy period of time, or because the indicators are frequently regarded as a normal part of aging. If you have somebody around depicting all these signs, please take them to the doctor and get them checked as soon as possible. Rectify their diet including all types of food imparting essential nutrients to them. Try your best to get a diet plan from a certified doctor and make sure the concerned individual follows it well.
At Effraim Home Care, the leading caregiver in Philadelphia, PA and the surrounding areas, our experienced caregivers are equipped with the knowledge to help encourage good nutrition in older adults. Our personal care services include preparing meals, running errands, companionship and so much more. Call us on 215-826-7422 so we can explore how we can meet your needs or the needs of a loved one.