It is sad to note that in a country where food is so available, there are still those who die from malnutrition. In fact, according to a study published in the May 2010 issue of the journal Annals of Epidemiology, about 2,000 to 3,000 older Americans die from malnutrition each and every year. So, how can you prevent your elderly loved one from being a part of this grim statistics? The answer lies in providing the best senior care that you can possibly afford.
Some Interesting Facts and Figures
- According to a study published in the Journal of Nursing, 5% to 10% of the elderly in community settings are malnourished while 35% to 85% of those who are living in long-term care facilities are not receiving proper nutrition.
- There are a lot of physical, social and medical factors that may increase the risk for malnutrition. Some of the physical factors include poor dental health, physical impairments, early satiety and psychological appetite loss. The social factors may include isolation, restrictive diets and financial concerns.
- Malnutrition may increase the risk of infection, weakness and fatigue, anemia and electrolyte imbalances.
- Malnutrition is often unrecognized or misdiagnosed. According to a study published in the May 2008 issue of the journal Nutrition and Dietetics, among the 30% of elderly patients who were identified as malnourished, only 19% were properly documented by health professionals while a mere 7% was referred for dietetic assessment.
Stopping the Problem at the Roots
How can you make sure that your aging parents or grandparents are getting the right nutrition? Here are some tips that may help ensure that they do:
- Encourage them to eat nutritious foods.
- Enhance the flavors of their diet by using lemon juice, herbs and spices.
- Provide nutritious snacks in between meals.
- Make meal time a social event.
- Encourage regular physical activity.
However, if you can’t do everything by yourself, you may want to consider hiring a credible home caregiver agency to provide your elderly loved ones with senior care. An experienced caregiver can monitor their diet, help them shop for nutritious food, and help motivate them to eat more and better food.