The issue of malnutrition may be one that you didn’t consider when you made the decision to become a family caregiver for your elderly adult. Many people think of malnutrition as being something that only those in lower socioeconomic classes face, or that is only suffered by those who do not have a family caregiver to take care of them.
This is not the case. Instead, there are many reasons that elderly adults are among the most vulnerable to suffer malnutrition, and as a caregiver it is important that you recognize these potential culprits so that you can take the steps needed to protect your parent and help them avoid the potentially serious consequences that can occur when they do not get adequate nutrition.
Some of the reasons that seniors tend to be more vulnerable to malnutrition include:
• Loss of appetite due to health complications and challenges that they are suffering
• Loss of appetite or food aversions due to medications that they are taking
• Restricted diets due to health problems, such as having to be on a salt-restricted diet due to congestive heart failure, causing food to seem unexciting and limiting their food variety
• Dementia or other cognitive functioning declines that can make it challenging for your parent to remember what hunger is, what they need to do to resolve it, or what foods they should be eating, or how to prepare meals and snacks
• Mobility problems that can make it difficult for your parent to access food or prepare meals
• Lack of transportation that keeps them from being able to get to the grocery store
• Depression and loss of motivation that can diminish appetite and make your parent less willing to eat
If you have been looking for a way to improve your elderly parent’s quality of life and help them to maintain a more fulfilling, healthier, and safer lifestyle as they age in place, now may be the ideal time for you to consider starting home care for them.
An in-home senior care services provider can be in the home with your parent on a fully customized schedule that ensures your parent will have the type of care, support, encouragement, and assistance that they need to help them handle their personal challenges and limitations in the way that is right for them. Highly personalized services allow your parent to stay as independent as possible while also ensuring that they are safe, healthy, and comfortable throughout their later years. As a family caregiver, this can give you confidence that your family member is in good hands both when you are able to be with them and when you are not.