Do You Know the Signs of Malnutrition in the Elderly?

Caregiver in Fort Belvoir VA: Senior Malnutrition

Caregiver in Fort Belvoir VA: Senior Malnutrition

In 2015, the USDA Economic Research Service said almost 3 million adults over the age of 64 lack nutritious, affordable food options. Only 4 out of 10 seniors who qualify for SNAP actually enroll in the program designed to make sure people have enough food.


Does your dad have enough to eat? Are they eating nutritious foods or processed foods that are easy to prepare?  Do you know what the signs of malnutrition are?


Here’s what you need to know about malnutrition and the elderly.


#1- Bruises:  Does your dad have vivid bruises that don’t seem to fit the circumstances?  He walked into the corner of the table and has a dark purple bruise the next day.  Bruising easily can be a sign of malnutrition.


#2 – Cuts: That Heal Slowly: If your dad got scratched by his cat or cut himself while chopping vegetables, see how long it takes for it to heal. If it’s taking longer than you’d expect, consider looking at her diet and consulting his doctor.


#3 – Dental Issues Arise:  If your dad is getting a lot of cavities and his oral care seems okay, malnutrition can be to blame.  You may also notice that when he brushes his teeth, his gums bleed easily.


#4 – Lack of Energy:  Your dad seems to have no energy.  His body isn’t getting enough calories to convert to energy.  As a result, he seems to tire easily and muscle weakness is becoming a problem.  He may also be dealing with anemia due to low iron stores.


#5 – Pour Eating Habits:  You’re at your parent’s house to visit.  In an hour’s time, you’ve watched him eat four sugary granola bars and two yogurts.  While he’s eating, his choices are items that don’t require any cooking.  He may need help making healthy meals.


#6 – Weight Loss:  Seniors who are not eating enough will lose weight.  You may not easily notice that the weight is gone, so look for loose, baggy clothes.  When you give your dad a hug, you might be able to notice how bony your parent is.  If the bones in the back seem more prominent than you remember, there may be an issue.


What Can You Do?


-Talk to your dad’s doctor. If he’s dehydrated or severely malnourished, he may need to go to the hospital for fluids and electrolytes. After that, it’s important to make sure he’s eating properly.

Home care specialists can come to his home, plan his weekly menu and cook his meals. The caregiver will stay and eat with him, as many Call a home care agency now to discuss a plan to get your mom or dad eating properly.


If you or an aging loved one is considering hiring a caregiver in Fort Belvoir, VA, contact the caring staff at Access Home Care Inc. Proudly Serving Northern Virginia and Surroundings for over 12 years. Call Us: (703) 765-9350




Anna Mensah-Nti, RN, BSN, Founder
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