As a person ages, digestion slows down causing nutrient absorption to change. As a result, there is a higher risk of malnourishment for aging adults, especially if they aren’t eating a healthy diet. In some situations, a person might be suffering from malnourishment due to abuse or neglect. But, there might be other instances where the person is malnourished because of an unbalanced diet.
Even if your family member is in the care of a team of healthcare professionals, it is important that you watch for potential signs of malnourishment:

  • Lack of Appetite: If the person sits down to a meal and pushes the food around on their plate, then it might be an indication that medical advice is needed. To help them get proper nourishment, it is important that they eat a full meal as often as possible.
  • Decline in General Health: Pay attention to see if the person looks gaunt or has other signs of poor health. You might notice chapped lips, dental issues, slow healing of wounds, or skin that appears gray and dry.
  • Apparent Weight Loss: One of the most common signs of malnourishment is weight loss. Look at the way their clothes are fitting to see if they are losing weight.
  • Changes in Medications: Prescription medications can influence appetite and hunger. If the doctor has recently changed medications or adjusted the dosages, then pay attention to the person’s eating habits.

What Do to about Malnourishment

Do you suspect that your loved one might be suffering from malnourishment? Then it is essential that you act right away to get the help that is needed. Malnutrition can lead to other health complications, such as slow wound healing, a weakened immune system, an increase in the risk of infections, weakened bones, and muscle weakness. In the case where neglect is suspected, then you should look for other care options. Also, talk to a doctor for individualized dietary recommendations that can be used.
Look for solutions to increase the person’s appetite, such as changing medications, adding flavors to the food, or including more snacks in the daily schedule.
It is essential that you take a proactive approach to keep your adding family member safe and healthy. For other caregiving tips, email info@SeniorSafeAndSound.org or phone 858-480-7551. Senior Safe and Sound.