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How to Detect & Prevent Malnutrition

By Mary-Frances Walsh, 11:19 pm on

Malnutrition is a serious concern among the senior population. Its prevalence is primary related to changes in an aging adult’s health that can make it harder to eat and prepare meals. If you care for an aging parent or loved one, it is important to be aware of the signs that they may not be getting proper nutrition. By doing so, you can take preventative action to ensure that malnutrition does not affect his or her well-being.


Understand the Causes

Any changes in a senior adult’s eating habits should be reported to the primary care physician because they will be able to identify developing health conditions that can contribute to malnutrition. For example, a senior adult may suddenly stop eating meals due to dental pain or indigestion that occurs after they eat. Another cause of malnutrition is the inability to prepare nutritious meals because of immobility. Some seniors may also lose interest in food due to a loss of taste, appetite or even a change in medication.

Detect the Early Signs
One of the earliest signs of malnutrition in seniors is an irregular pattern of eating. Those who provide live-in care in Sonoma County may notice that their aging loved one is not eating enough at each meal. As malnutrition progresses, a senior may experience fatigue, confusion or slower healing times after an illness or injury. Severe malnutrition can lead to hair loss, gum disease and other ailments that may require medical intervention to correct.

Preventative Strategies

While a person’s diet and interest in food will change as they age, it is possible to make meal time more appealing for seniors. Those who struggle with indigestion or a lack of appetite can benefit from eating smaller meals more frequently throughout the day. Seniors who are disinterested in eating may be encouraged by having someone eat with them at meal times. Finally, those who are unable to cook for themselves or properly plan a nutritious meal can benefit from a meal planning service so that they can always have the right amount of nutritious foods included on their plate each day.

For more information about senior nutrition and in-home care, visit our website at www.homecareassistancesonomacounty.com or contact a Care Manager at 707-843-4368. We would be more than happy to answer any of your questions and can further discuss your loved one’s nutrition and care needs during a free in-home consultation.