You must act immediately if you believe your aging parent is malnourished. When left untreated, this condition increases the risk of health complications ranging from heart disease to osteoporosis. Here is a closer look at five signs of malnourishment and a few tips for seniors who are having difficulty getting enough nutrients.
1. Sudden Changes in Weight
Many people are surprised to hear malnourishment doesn’t always result in weight loss. A senior can be obese and still be malnourished. Always try to keep an eye on your loved one’s weight and make note of any sudden changes to his or her figure. If your loved one loses or gains quite a bit of weight in a short time, schedule an appointment with the doctor to test for common issues such as hormone fluctuations, diabetes, and dementia.
If your elderly loved one is living with a serious medical condition and needs help managing the tasks of daily living, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a Wellesley home care agency you can trust. Our caregivers are available 24/7, there are no hidden fees in our contracts, and we offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee on all of our in-home care services.
2. Negative Changes in Personality
A healthy and varied diet is the first line of defense against a wide array of emotional health issues. Sudden changes to personality or overall happiness could be the result of a severe deficiency. In addition to having your loved one speak with a therapist, you should also try to overhaul his or her diet. Drinking a nutrient-dense shake at least once a day could drastically reduce the risk of malnourishment.
Chronic fatigue is one of the most common symptoms of malnourishment, and you must be wary of any changes to your loved one’s energy levels. Seniors who are malnourished often nap throughout the day even though they’re getting plenty of sleep at night. Aging adults might also find it difficult to perform everyday tasks such as doing the dishes or putting on their clothes. A high-quality supplement could boost your loved one’s energy levels by supplying some of the nutrients he or she isn’t getting from food.
Some seniors need help to perform daily tasks. Whether your elderly loved one needs part-time assistance with basic household chores or you need a break from your caregiving duties, the Wellesley respite care experts at Home Care Assistance are here to help. All of our respite care services are backed with a 100% satisfaction guarantee, there are no hidden fees in our contracts, and we never ask our clients to sign long-term contracts.
4. Bruises That Won’t Go Away
Anemia is very common among the elderly, and those who have this condition often develop lingering bruises that don’t heal on their own. If your loved one doesn’t consume enough iron, his or her body won’t be able to produce an ample supply of platelets. Platelets are responsible for flushing away blood that becomes trapped under the skin. Seniors who have anemia should try to eat plenty of iron-rich foods, including spinach, cooked shellfish, red meat, and organ meat.
5. Dry Skin and Hair
Malnutrition can impact a senior’s physical appearance as well. Your loved one won’t be able to produce elastin and keratin unless he or she eats plenty of vitamin E throughout the day. Your loved one should also be eating foods that contain vitamin C, vitamin K, and biotin. Salmon, mushrooms, almonds, eggs, and sweet potatoes are all excellent for the skin and hair. If your loved one doesn’t enjoy cooking, speak with a nutritionist about coming up with meals that are tasty and easy to prepare.
Managing the symptoms of malnutrition and other health concerns can be challenging for older adults. Seniors can face a variety of age-related challenges. Though some families choose to take on the caregiving duties, there may come a time when they need a trusted Wellesley home care provider. Families sometimes need respite from their duties so they can focus on their other responsibilities, and some seniors need around-the-clock assistance that their families are not able to provide. Home Care Assistance is here to help. Call one of our friendly Care Managers at (781) 239-0060 to schedule a free in-home consultation.