A Malnutrition Epidemic Among the Elderly

Senior Malnutrition

Studies Reveal How Hard it Is For Seniors to Eat Right

In today’s culture, it is difficult for anyone to get a balanced, nutritious diet. Raw, natural foods are often more expensive than prepackaged meals, and it takes longer to prepare. Fast food restaurants on every corner offer a convenient but high-fat, high-sodium meal instead of a homemade recipe. The problem of obesity frequently takes the spotlight when we talk about unhealthy eating, but malnutrition is another major issue, particularly among the elderly. In a recent study, researchers discovered that many seniors who visited hospital emergency rooms suffered from malnourishment.

Those Most at Risk

While researchers are still compiling the data and looking for meaningful connections, a few recurring themes in the study immediately stood out. For one thing, over half of the seniors who suffered from depression also suffered from malnutrition. Depression and associated problems like loneliness and boredom can take away a senior’s appetite, leaving him without the drive to cook healthy meals or even visit the grocery store to shop.

Surprisingly, nearly half of seniors who resided in an assisted living facility were also malnourished. It may be easy for family members to assume that their elderly loved ones are getting three healthy meals per day in their assisted living home, but that is not always the case.

Combatting the Problem

Two other major issues highlighted by the study are difficulty chewing/swallowing and difficulty in getting to the grocery store (this could include lack of money for grocery shopping). There is some good news, however: all of these obstacles, in most cases, can be overcome by close attention from family members and professional home caregivers. While we understand the need to take over a senior family member’s finances and health care, we may not think of taking over in the area of nutrition. It is up to others, though, to make sure that a senior who can’t shop or cook for herself gets the healthy food that she needs.

More about Senior Nutrition

A senior caregiver can take care of every step of the senior diet, from shopping for healthy ingredients to combining them into delicious meals. Make sure your senior isn’t limited to convenient prepackaged meals or, worst of all, finding the cabinets and refrigerator nearly empty on a regular basis.

We understand that keeping yourself and your family at home on a healthy diet is a part-time job in itself! If your busy schedule and your senior parents’ home location do not allow you to help out with every meal, call us for help! Our kind, cheerful caregivers are always happy to prepare a meal and share some pleasant, stimulating conversation with their elderly clients.

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About Tim Colling

Tim Colling is the founder and President of A Servant's Heart In-Home Care, which provided in-home caregiving services in San Diego County, and also of A Servant's Heart Geriatric Care Management, which provided
professional geriatric care management services and long term care placement services in San Diego County. Tim has more than 30 years of experience in management in a variety of industries. He held a Certified Care Manager credential from the National Academy of Certified Care Managers. Tim is also a Certified Public Accountant (retired), and received his Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting from California State University at San Diego. In addition to writing blog posts here for the Servant’s Heart blog, Tim also is a regular contributor to HealthLine.com and to FamilyAffaires.com as well as blogs of other eldercare services provider companies. Finally, Tim is also the president of A Servant's Heart Web Design and Marketing, which provides home care marketing as well as website design and online marketing for those who serve the elderly and their families.