making sure your elderly loved one is eating right
Getting the proper nutrition is important
for people of all ages but eating right
often becomes difficult for seniors. The
elderly, who are the fastest growing segment of
the U.S. population, may have a hard time getting
all the nutrients required for a balanced diet.
Malnutrition often presents itself as weight loss,
disorientation, and lightheadedness and is often
mistaken for illness or disease. If you take care of
an elderly parent or grandparent there are plenty
of steps you can take to help them get adequate
nutrition as they get older.
The best way to find out why your loved one
is not eating well is to pay attention and ask
them questions. Be encouraging of honesty and
openness and reassure them that they are not
a burden to you or anyone else in your family.
Remind them that they are important to you and
that you are there to take care of them. Some of
the possible causes of poor nutrition include a
decrease in sensitivity of the senses of smell and
taste. This affects their ability to taste and enjoy
food making them less likely to eat food.
Another cause is side effects of medications
which sometimes reduce appetite, make food
taste strangely, or cause nausea. Many seniors are
also on fixed or limited incomes and out of worry
for money, they may cut back on grocery expenses
or eat less-nutritious foods in favor of expensive
nutritious food. Seniors also experience physical
difficulties as they become frailer with age and
deal with arthritis and fibromyalgia. Simple tasks
like peeling fruit or standing for a long time to
cook a meal become too challenging.
“...side effects of medications
which sometimes reduce
appetite, make food taste
strangely, or cause nausea”