malnutrition elderly

For people of all ages, malnutrition is both a cause and consequence of ill health. Malnutrition can be defined as the lack of enough nutrients in your body to work properly. This means that the food an individual is taking does not have as many nutrients as the body needs to function normally. As your loved one grows older, one of the things you will notice is that their appetite will decrease. Older people tend to be less hungry than younger people.  According to statistics, up to 3.7 million older adults in the US are suffering from malnutrition. So how can you help an adult suffering from malnutrition to be healthy again?

Encourage healthier eating

One of the main reason why an elderly adult may be suffering from malnutrition is that they are not eating a balanced diet. Science tells us that the only sure way of preventing malnutrition is to ensure that your food intake is in the required ratios. If an elderly adult is taking too many proteins and little vegetables, they are going to be malnutrition. If they are eating the right foods but in wrong options, it will still not be helpful. You, therefore, need to ensure that the food offered is in the recommended portions.

It is also advised that you reduce the intake of junk and fast foods in elderly adults. Solid sugars, alcoholic beverages, and fats will have an adverse impact on your loved one. The fact that their appetite has decreased substantially means that they may not even eat anything else after they have eaten that plate for deep fried potato chips. They may feel so full that they may not even want a fruit or juice to accompany it with. They, therefore, end up consuming harmful foods without consuming healthy foods. Limiting the number of times they eat such snack a week will ensure that their bodies get all the nutrients they need.

 

malnutrition

Snacking

When your loved one always complains that they do not feel like eating, you are still required to ensure that there are getting enough foods to their bodies to prevent malnutrition. All you have to do in such cases is to make sure that your loved one is taking plenty of snack throughout the day. Instead of the standard three meals a day, get them to have about five meals distributed throughout the day. In addition to this, including two of their favorite snacks. This way, they will still have enough food to ensure their bodies are healthy and active. It will also prevent them from hating you for forcing them to finish the whole plate of food as if they are children. Snacks are also a great way of ensuring that adults who feel quickly get full at meal times still get what their bodies need. In the long run, the goal is to make sure that you can balance the meals in portions and get the as much water and vegetables as possible.

Make meals taste good

You may not be an elderly person, but you should put yourself in their shoes. Just because they have grown older does not mean that they have lost their taste glands. They are still human and with feelings. One of the reasons elderly adults may suffer from malnutrition is because their food is not sweet and they would rather stay hungry than eat bland food. If your loved one is on a restricted diet, it may be helpful for you to include herbs and spices in their foods. Such spices may go a long way in improving the taste of their diet and thus encourage them to eat more.

malnutrition

Exercises

Encourage your loved one to engage in activities. Exercises increase the body’s metabolic rates and thus make an individual feel hungrier. They will, therefore, be motivated to eat something. When they choose to eat, you may want to include supplements in their food to increase the levels of certain nutrients in their blood.

Conclusion

Growing old has its perks one of which is malnutrition which causes weight loss. If your loved one is on any medication, you need to ensure that they eat a healthy, well-balanced diet so that their body is strong enough to handle the medication and fight the disease they suffer from.

 

This post was contributed by Daniel Lewis, a professional editor. His articles have appeared in some of the top blogs.

Dr Prasoon

Dr Prasoon

Author at BeingTheDoctor
Dr Prasoon, founder of BeingTheDoctor is a qualified medical practitioner who finds time to write articles on "health" and his "clinical experiences". He is currently engaged in providing primary health care services in rural India. Learn more in the "about" page.
Dr Prasoon

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Malnutrition in Elderly and How to Prevent it
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