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Ways to Ensure Your Senior Loved One's Nutritional Needs Are Met

Nutritional needs tend to get overlooked as we age. It can get confusing trying to decipher what our loved ones lack and how to improve their health. This blog post discusses the causes of nutritional deficiencies and offers solutions of how to ensure that our senior loved one's needs are met.

Signs of Nutritional Needs and Deficiency

Fatigue, stomach irritability, cognitive function, mental illness, weight loss, nail, skin, and mouth health all point to possible deficiencies. Keep an eye on anything that persists and seek professional help as these could be signs of other underlying health issues that could also be present.

Causes and Solutions to Nutrition Deficiency

Not only does our body go through physiological changes, such as our metabolic rate decreasing, but other factors correlated with aging also have an effect on nutrition. Physical ailments, changing environments, and side effects from illnesses and medication are some of the most common.

Loneliness/Depression Affecting Nutritional Needs

Loneliness doesn't just impact their nutritional needs, it also contributes to the elderly population's mortality rate, increasing it by 26%. Having frequent visitors, in-home healthcare, or potentially moving them to a seniors' housing facility can be beneficial to a senior's overall health.

Chewing Discomfort

Check that their dentures fit comfortably and aren't hindering their chewing. Green smoothies are a great way to get a nutrient-packed snack without having to chew through rough foods. Homemade soup, adding sauces, and steaming veggies may help comfort levels.

Mobility Issues

Maneuvering around the kitchen or driving and walking through the grocery store can be exhausting and difficult for seniors. Meal prepping and meal delivery services may be something to consider.

Health Issues Due to Nutritional Needs

Diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and dementia are all common diseases among the elderly which all have an effect on nutrition as well as nutrition having an effect on them. Fatty tissues can create insulin resistance which causes diabetes. Communication difficulties can also interfere with eating habits for patients with dementia. If they are unable to convey they are hungry, try presenting multiple options for meals or using cards with photos of different foods, to make it easier for them to select what they want.

Medication Side Effects

If your senior loved one is experiencing difficulty using the restroom, has a loss of appetite/dry mouth, or balance/mobility issues, it could be due to the side effects of certain medications. They could lose motivation to eat properly if they have digestive issues and discomfort from chewing. Some medications interfere with how the body absorbs certain nutrients.

Common Essential Vitamins

We know the signs, causes, and possible solutions to malnutrition. However, it is also necessary to understand the vitamins and minerals that dissipate as a result of:

  • Vitamin C: This plays a critical role in brain development and protection across the lifespan. Levels tend to be lower in patients with cognitive diseases. In general, Vitamin C is a crucial antioxidant that plays a large role in preventing diseases.
  • Calcium: An essential and common vitamin deficiency prominent in seniors and, without an adequate intake, can weaken bones and heart health.
  • Vitamin D: Another common deficiency that can cause cognitive decline, depression, osteoporosis, and cardiovascular diseases if they are not consuming a proper amount. It also has a strong effect on cognitive performance and the decline of mental wellness.

How to Prevent Malnourishment

Getting physical exercise not only gets our metabolism moving but can also regulate our digestive system and appetite. Senior yoga is also a great way to combat mobility issues. Additionally, one of the best and most natural ways to get necessary vitamins is to consume the foods that they are in. Greens such as spinach, kale, and broccoli and fruits such as oranges, berries, and tomatoes are all high in vitamins for nutritional needs.

Elite Home Health Care understands the importance of staying informed about what your senior loved one needs to live a joyous life. In-home health care could be just what you and your family need to ensure they are receiving quality care and health expertise. Contact us to learn more.

Written by: Yelena Sokolsky