5 Key Risk Factors for Malnutrition Among Older Adults

By , 9:00 am on

Chronic malnutrition can negatively impact several facets of a senior’s health. When left untreated, malnourishment destroys the immune system and makes it difficult to recover from common illnesses and injuries. Older adults and their caregivers should spend some time learning about what they can do to address the most common risk factors of malnutrition. 

1. Dysphagia

Seniors who have a difficult time chewing and swallowing their food often lose interest in eating altogether. Dysphagia is a disorder that affects the neck muscles, and seniors with this health condition are at risk of malnourishment. Seniors with dysphagia should consider sticking to liquids and soft foods for vitamins, minerals, and calories. Soups, stews, smoothies, pureed vegetables, and yogurt are all great options for seniors with dysphagia. 

Managing the symptoms of dysphagia and other several other health conditions can be challenging for seniors. 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 Lincoln home care company 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. Organ Failure

A healthy digestive system relies on many different organs, including the stomach, kidneys, liver, pancreas, gallbladder, and intestines. If any of these organs are infected with a disease or severely damaged, the body may not be able to metabolize and absorb nutrients. Organ failure is a common problem, which is why seniors must schedule an appointment with a doctor if they notice signs of malnutrition such as sudden weight loss or fatigue. 

3. Oral Health Conditions

Most people experience at least a few oral health issues as they grow older, and it is important to take care of these issues as quickly as possible. Seniors who have gum disease, tooth decay, and tooth loss tend to eat much less food and have higher rates of malnutrition. In addition to scheduling at least two dental appointments every year, seniors should also contact a dentist for emergency services if they notice any unusual issues with their teeth or gums. 

4. Limited Mobility

Many seniors have limited mobility, which makes it difficult for them to shop for groceries and make food. If your loved one has a difficult time walking or standing for long periods, consider hiring a caregiver. Another option is to spend some time with your loved one preparing meals at the start of the week. Not only will you know exactly what is going into the dishes, but you can also portion them out so your loved one knows how much to eat. 

Whether your elderly loved one needs part-time assistance with basic household chores or you need a break from your caregiving duties, the Lincoln 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.

5. Medicine

After starting a new medication, seniors and caregivers should carefully track dietary changes. Some of the most common prescriptions can impact the sense of taste or appetite, and these side effects shouldn’t be taken lightly. A doctor can help find an alternative to the medication or alter the dose if your loved one’s appetite or eating habits change.

Living with a serious health condition can make it challenging for seniors to age in place. However, they can maintain a higher quality of life with the help of professional live-in care. Lincoln seniors can benefit from assistance with meal prep, bathing, transportation to the doctor’s office, medication reminders, and much more. To hire a professional caregiver for your elderly loved one, call Home Care Assistance at 916.226.3737 today.