Poor nutrition is a problem for seniors because of various reasons. One of the big problems seniors have to deal with regarding their health is nutrition and what they eat every day. They may not realize how important proper nutrition is until they have been diagnosed with malnutrition. These conditions are often caused by eating foods not needed in our diet. Poor nutrition is an issue for seniors because many get sick due to nutritional deficiencies.
Why Poor Nutrition Can Be a Problem for Seniors:
1. Trouble Eating:
Eating a wide variety of tastes and textures has become too complicated for older adults. Difficulty in swallowing and chewing food is a challenge that most seniors face. This leads to a lack of nutrients while eating, eventually leading to malnutrition if left untreated.
Many diseases are associated with the elderly that could prevent older adults from maintaining good nutrition. These include rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, dementia, osteoporosis, cancer, and others. If they suffer from those diseases, they may have trouble digesting food. This can result in nutritional deficiency, including protein and calcium loss.
4. Lack of Appetite:
Some senior citizens do not feel like eating. This could also contribute to inadequate nutrition intake. Often this occurs when the body gets tired or weak; other factors such as depression and other medical complications can inhibit appetite.
5. Memory Loss:
Memory loss is also a major contributing factor to lack of nutrition. Alzheimer’s disease, forgetfulness, and short-term memory loss can create situations where individuals have a hard time remembering what they ate as well as when they last ate, leading to nutrient deficiencies.
6. Lack of Exercise:
Lack of physical activity among elders can cause severe issues with digestion. Due to aging, muscles lose strength gradually as they age. Without physical activity, digestion becomes less efficient, making absorbing some nutrients and vitamins very difficult.
Medications taken can affect their ability to absorb nutrition. Prescription medicines used by the elderly could interfere with digestion, preventing the absorption of nutrients; certain prescriptions can impair the digestive system and decrease the absorption of nutrients.
8. Restricted Diets:
Seniors who follow certain eating restrictions or avoid specific food groups could also cause malnutrition. Food is often limited for patients recovering or diagnosed with a condition. Specific religious diets or personal preferences might also prohibit the consumption of certain types of food.
Depression is another common reason why older adults fail to maintain adequate nutrition in the long run. Many times, depression can cause seniors to become isolated from friends and family. Sometimes, depression could be the primary driving force behind eating disorders.
How to prevent inadequate nutrition for your loved one:
1. Care Partners & Caregivers:
Care partners play an essential role in ensuring proper nutrition among the elderly. A person caring for an elderly person should ensure that they eat a balanced diet and also eat regularly. Care partners also need to ensure that meals are always served on time so that no meal is missed. It can also be extremely important to monitor the amount consumed daily and record it to determine if more food needs to be eaten later.
2. Nutrition Education:
Learning about healthy lifestyle choices such as proper dieting and nutrition is necessary for all seniors. Education about healthy choices helps them eat right without feeling deprived later on. This ensures healthier lives for both the older individual and the caregiver.
3. Medication Monitoring:
Proper medication intake can prevent many health conditions, including malnutrition. If a medication is contributing to issues digesting or consuming food, the medication should be replaced with an alternative if possible. Medications taken by seniors should be monitored at least twice each day since they may have different side effects throughout the day. If any changes to the dosage, these changes need to be recorded immediately into the patient’s file.
4. Daily Tasks:
Daily activities can help the elderly stay active and involved in life even after retirement. Taking part in social events, volunteering, making new friends, and spending quality time with loved ones will motivate them to take good care of themselves.
5. Dietary Supplements:
Dietary supplements for seniors include multivitamins; These are essential for maintaining overall health, especially for those who are lacking vitamins and minerals in their diet due to a medication causing digestion or eating issues. Dietary supplements are also ideal for seniors whose diet has been restricted due to illnesses or other reasons.
6. Make Meals Social Events:
Dining with other people and having some good conversations is important for senior citizens. Dining alone may lead to isolation which can result in poor nutrition. Make it a social time for them, and allow for them to be surrounded by people they can converse with. Or, try having dinner with loved ones every few days.
Nutrition plays a vital role in staying active at an older age. Proper nutrition provides energy that enables us to perform various tasks. Good nutrition keeps our body functioning correctly. Malnourishment can affect the physical and mental capabilities of individuals. For this reason, it is very crucial to keep track of what you eat no matter what age you are. When you don’t pay attention to your diet and the nutrition of your food, it becomes difficult for you to achieve a balanced diet.
Nutrition & a Balanced Diet at Ruby’s Home Assisted Living Facilities in Austin
At Ruby’s retirement homes in Austin, Tx, we take nutrition very seriously. A healthy and balanced diet is one of the first steps in ensuring that your loved one has the nutritional building blocks they need to stay healthy. This is why we prepare fresh daily meals that are designed to be delicious & nutritious for all of our residents. At many retirement communities near Austin that house large populations of people, it can be hard for staff to pay close enough attention to residents and if they are eating a balanced diet. Because of the small number of residents at Ruby’s, we are able to avoid that problem and ensure that our residents are meeting their nutritional needs.