Elderly Nutrition – Lack of Proper Nutrition and Hydration

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 16,210
    Mary Alexander with Home Instead Senior Care provides some tips for making sure your senior loved ones are getting proper nutrition. This video will focus on what can happen without proper nutrition and hydration.

    Mary Alexander: Hi! I'm Mary Alexander from Home Instead Senior Care and today I'm going to provide some tips for making sure your senior loved ones are getting proper nutrition. Now I am going to discuss what can happen without proper nutrition and hydration.

    So how do you know if your senior loved ones diet fits the bill? Simple monitoring of your parent's situation can help. There are 10 warning signs that might signal a potential problem. First a loss of appetite, if your senior has always been a hearty eater but no longer eats as he or she used to, it's time to find out why. An underlying illness could be the root cause, or it could be problems with ill-fitting dentures or other pain while chewing. Second ask yourself, did mom and dad used to love eating out. And now they rarely if ever go out and eat at one of their favorite restaurants. If so, ask them about the change to determine if there is a problem. Depression is the third warning sign to look for. This can be signaled by a change in appetite. The fourth sign is a sudden weight fluctuation. A weight change loosing or gaining ten pounds in six months could mean that something is amiss. The fifth sign to look for is expired or spoiled food in the refrigerator. Your parents could be saving food until it's no longer safe to eat. If they end up eating something they shouldn't, it could lead to illness that could severely weaken them.

    The number six sign to look for is skin tone. If your parents are eating properly their skin should look healthy and well hydrated. The next warning sigh is lethargy. If your loved one has regularly been active, but suddenly becomes lethargic it could mean an improper diet. Cognitive problems are the eighth warning sign. Seniors who leave alone might forget to eat. Dementia and cognitive problems can lead to nutritional deficiencies. The ninth signal is when your parent is taking more than three medications. Medication can influence both appetite and weight. Check with your parent's doctor to find out if the medications could be a culprit.

    The last warning sign of poor nutrition could be a recent illness or a hospital stay. Be sure to keep tabs on your loved one's recovery to make sure they are eating properly. Okay, so now that we've given you the 10 signs to look for, what should you do if you suspect your senior loved one isn't eating right? First, sit down and have a talk with your parent. Tell them what you've noticed and that you are concerned. Listen carefully and find out what they have to say. Also be sure to let them know if their symptoms might be easily cleared up with some simple dietary changes. If you suspect medication or an illness might be to blame, suggest a visit to their primary care physician and offer to go along. Be sure to take along a list of current medications, any recent illnesses they might have experienced and signals a poor nutrition that you have noticed. With this information in hand, the doctor can best diagnose the problem. The doctor may suggest some simple blood tests that can help reveal any potential medical problems.

    Once the doctor has conducted his analysis, he may suggest nutritional supplements including drinks and pudding. You might also ask if a nutritionist or dietitian would be helpful, especially if there are medical conditions such as diabetes that need to be taken into consideration during meal preparation. Lastly, if you think dental or jaw problems are to blame, suggest that your senior loved one make a visit to his or her dentist, in addition to consulting medical and nutrition professionals. There are many things you can do to help your parents eat properly and have better nutrition. We'll discuss those ideas in the next video.