An elder’s poor diet and malnutrition is a challenge that many families face. If they live alone, it may not be so easy to notice this until significant damage has been done. A poor diet can often result in decreased immunity among other health issues. Learning what puts older adults at risk for a poor diet or malnutrition will help you learn how to detect a problem and address it.
As you think about the potential reasons your loved one isn’t eating well, consider physical difficulties. For many adults, malnutrition is linked to a lack of transportation to the grocery store. If they struggle to stand for very long to prepare meals it could lead a senior to eating very little. Poorly fitting dentures, for example, might also make chewing painful. Then there are conditions like Parkinson’s disease and arthritis that make tasks such as slicing and chopping vegetables, difficult and even dangerous.
Meals are often a social occasion and a time to connect with friends and family. For seniors who are trying to physically distance themselves from others, eating alone might be necessary. The longer an older adult is isolated, the more challenging the situation can become. Cooking for one may seem like too much work after a week or two. A senior can turn to fast foods and convenience items, including frozen dinners, processed foods, and canned foods instead. These tend to be low in nutrients, and high in sodium and trans-fat.
Other issues that impact nutrition are grief, depression, isolation, and loneliness. A death in the family or a change in personal health are some psychological challenges that can affect a senior’s eating habits. Sometimes people trying to cope with stress, anxiety, or depression may consume too many unhealthy comfort foods or sugary treats. Other times a person in psychological pain can lose their appetite altogether.
Once you pinpoint the cause of a loved one’s poor nutrition, it’ll be easier to address those concerns. Whether it’s having groceries delivered, meal delivery services, or an assisted living community there are a variety of solutions to consider. Reformed Church Home offers a home-like environment. Whether or not you choose our community, we hope you’ll continue to weigh your options and make an informed decision. If you’d like to learn more, call, visit, or explore our website to learn more about the quality of life at our senior living community in Old Bridge, NJ!