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Top Ways to Reduce the Chance of Senior Malnutrition


January 12, 2018 in: reducing senior malnutrition,

According to an article published in Health Community Key, around 3.7 million seniors suffer from malnutrition in the U.S. It’s very important to eat healthy as you start getting older. As an adult, your body has a fast metabolism and therefore can cope up with the fatty food you eat. However, as you age, the body’s food absorption rate drops, which leads to various health problems.

When Does Malnutrition Start?

In seniors, malnutrition is usually a combination of dental and health problems. It can go two ways: It will either cause a decrease in appetite or your loved one will find trouble eating.

Causes of Malnutrition

According to Postgraduate Medical Journal, the causes of malnutrition stem from three factors - medical, social, and psychological. Following are the risks caused by these factors:

Medical Factors

  • Poor dentition and dysphasia
  • Poor appetite
  • Respiratory disorders such as emphysema
  • Physical disability such as poor mobility, arthritis
  • Loss of smell and taste
  • Endocrine disorders such as diabetes, thyrotoxicosis
  • Gastrointestinal disorders such as malabsorption
  • Infections such as chest infection, urinary tract infection
  • Neurological disorders such as Parkinson's disease, cerebrovascular accident

Psychological

  • Dementia
  • Confusion
  • Bereavement
  • Depression
  • Anxiety

Social Factors

  • Isolation
  • Poverty
  • Financial problems

5 Top Ways to Reduce Malnutrition in Senior

1.Cook Smart

When any food item is cooked beyond its time limit, it loses its nutrition. Cooking smart is all about eating raw vegetables, boiling them or sautéing them in coconut, avocado or olive oil. Make sure your loved one eats a vegetable or fruit salad with every meal.

2.Avoid Sodium, Hidden Sugar and Bad Carbs

Your local grocery store is full of refined sugar and processed food items. Some examples of bad carbohydrates are white flour, brown rice syrup, molasses, corn syrup, white bread, etc. So, start checking labels when buying food for your loved one and make sure the food does not contain artificial sweeteners. Go for natural sweeteners like honey. As for carbohydrates, opt for beans, vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Lastly, lower their sodium intake and start seasoning their food with spices, herbs, and garlic.

3.Cook by Color

A visually appealing plate looks more appetizing than blobs of tasty food. A great way to balance your loved one’s plate is to include five colored items such as fruits, vegetables, and protein.

4.Hire a Caregiver

Making supermarket runs and then cooking a balanced meal can be very taxing. If you are unable to cook for your loved one, then hire a caregiver to cook them three meals a day.

5.Snacks are Nutritious Too

Does your loved one feel hungry in the middle of the day? Yes, there are nutritious snacks too that will tide them over until dinner time. These snacks include nuts, apple slices covered in peanut butter, Greek yogurt, cheese and crackers, avocado on toast, fruit-vegetable smoothie, oatmeal cookies, etc.

To handle malnutrition, you should get your loved one help in dealing with medical, social, and psychological factors first. The more they socialize, the more active their lifestyle will be which will eventually improve their appetite. 

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