The month of March is National Nutrition Month, and a common and very serious problem among seniors is malnutrition. By not eating a nutritious diet- seniors are more vulnerable to serious health problems- including increase in falls, a weakened immune system and poor wound healing.
Early detection of malnutrition is important since it has been associated with diminished cognitive function, mobility, and a diminished ability to care for one’s self.
Some of the factors that contribute to malnutrition are:
medications that can lead to decreased sense of taste and smell
a lack of energy to prepare healthy food
poor oral health (dental and swallowing) problems
having a monotonous diet
lack of resources for shopping or preparing healthy meals and
depression and/or alcohol usage
Capability Homecare caregivers use the following 10 tips to encourage clients to increase caloric intake and in turn lead a healthier life:
1. Offer plenty of healthy options to choose from
2. Encourage snacks to increase calories
3. Caregiver can plan, shop, prepare and clean up meals
4. By avoiding pre-packaged frozen meals, caregivers can monitor salt intake
5. Increase calorie consumption by offering supplements such as energy drinks and shakes
6. Encourage exercise– even the smallest amount can increase appetite
7. Provide access to available resources– Meals on Wheels, senior centers and adult day programs often serve hot meals every day
8. Encourage client to ask their doctor and dentist for help. Maybe change medications or have dentist treat swallowing problems
9. Caregiver can monitor alcohol intake and encourage healthier choice such as water (avoid dehydration)
10. By enjoying the meal together, caregiver models healthy eating and makes the meal a social event
If you are concerned that your loved one may be not receiving proper nutrition, consider hiring Capability Homecare to provide this essential daily need. Caregivers are available on an hourly or live in basis.
Please go to www.capabilityhomecare.com for more information.