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Malnutrition in Seniors: Understanding Symptoms and Treatments
Malnutrition in Seniors
It’s common at any age to fall into poor eating habits. But, as people age, the risk of poor nutrition becomes a significant threat. One out of every two seniors is at risk of developing malnutrition, making it something that all seniors and caregivers should be acutely aware of.
One of the most important things to note when it comes to malnutrition is that proper nutritional assessments and treatments should be a routine part of care for all seniors. This will reduce the risk of developing any issues and aid in early detection and diagnosis from a medical professional.
When it comes to malnutrition, it’s imperative to find the underlying cause, which could vary greatly from person to person. By identifying key symptoms, it can aid in early diagnosis and prevent more serious issues in the future. Things to look out for include:
- Lack of appetite
- Tiredness and irritability
- Inability to focus
- Muscle loss, weight loss, or body tissue loss
- Hollow cheeks and sunken eyes
- Dry hair and skin
- Delayed healing from injuries
If any of these symptoms start to develop, it’s important to talk to a primary care doctor to see if further treatment is needed. Some of these symptoms could be signs of other serious conditions, so identifying health changes early on is vital.
Malnutrition Causes, Treatment, and Prevention
When it comes to treating symptoms of malnutrition, identifying the root cause is the first step. Many times, malnutrition can be brought on by other outside factors that include a combination of physical, social, and psychological issues.
These factors include:
- Underlying health issues
- Dietary restrictions
- Reduced income
- Social isolation
- Limited access to healthy food choices
- Depression or dementia
When it comes to treating the symptoms of malnutrition, it’s important to get a regimen from a doctor. By changing medications, changing any dietary restrictions, and ruling out any other potential health issues, they can start to treat the individual symptoms.
Treatment plans can include physical activity and exercise, a dedicated meal plan, vitamins, and minerals, engaging in social activities that involve eating, offering payment assistance for food, or hiring an at–home service to help prepare healthy meals.
Preventing malnutrition involves some careful planning. Ensuring a loved one’s refrigerator is always full of healthy, easy meal options is important and encouraging foods that are rich in vitamins and nutrients can be helpful. Getting an at–home aide to check in on a loved one can be important and even offering alternative ways to stay hydrated like popsicles, soup, or smoothies.
Finding Help at McGregor PACE
McGregor PACE is a Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly. Under the PACE program, we provide services that address the medical, rehabilitative, social, and personal care needs of older adults.
If you or a loved one needs help with healthy eating or preventing symptoms of malnutrition, contact us today or call 216.791.3580 to learn more about our offerings for seniors, 55 years of age and older.