Good nutrition is vital to the health of the elderly yet many older adults are at risk. The following are some problems caused by malnutrition:
- Weak immune system which can cause an increase in infections.
- Poor wound healing.
- Muscle weakness and decreased bone mass which leads to fractures and falls.
- Increased risk of hospitalizations.
- Increased risk of death.
Malnutrition begins by too little food or a diet lacking in nutrients. What can you do to help?
- Engage your doctor during routine office visits. Ask about nutritional supplements. Watch for weight loss. maybe changing medication affecting the appetite.
- Dental checks to ensure good oral hygiene and prevent mouth pain and chewing problems.
- Eat food packed in nutrients and plan between meal snacks.
- Consider a supplement. There are many out there to choose from.
- Outside help to ensure shopping for groceries, meals on wheels, or someone to assist with cooking.
- Exercise can stimulate the appetite.
Always involve your family and physician to set up a plan that is right for you.