Your senior may be eating, but is it enough? And if she is eating, are the foods she’s eating nutritionally balanced enough to give her body what it needs? These are important questions that you may need to dig into if you’re a family caregiver. Malnutrition is a common problem for aging adults and it is avoidable if you know what’s happening.
Watch out for Warning Signs
Your senior may feel as if she’s already eating quite a lot, but there are ways that her body and her health can tell a different story. If she becomes injured, for instance, her body will take longer to heal if she’s not getting the nutrients that she needs. She may also experience other issues, like frequent headaches or muscle weakness. It’s important to look deeper at those red flags.
Ask How Her Medications Affect Her Appetite
Medications that help your senior can also cause her some big concerns. Some of her medications may affect her appetite or they can affect how her body absorbs nutrients from the food that she eats. It’s important that you ask her doctor how her medications can affect her appetite and her overall health and well-being. This helps you both to be as prepared as you can be.
Assess Her Eating Habits
You might not be there with your senior every single minute, but it’s important to try to understand her eating habits. Is she skipping meals? Do her meals consist of mainly “snack” foods that she picks at? What foods is she eating most often? If you don’t know the answers to these questions, find a calm and loving way to ask about what you need to know.
Reduce the Impact of Isolation on Appetite
Very often isolation and loneliness have a huge impact on appetite. Lots of aging adults don’t enjoy eating alone and this can lead to just avoiding food altogether. Your senior may not even realize this is what she’s doing. By bringing in elderly care providers for companionship and other types of help, you may be able to have an impact on your senior’s willingness to eat a little more often because she has someone there with her.
Talk to your senior’s doctor about what sorts of foods your senior should be eating in order to deal with her existing health issues. Having the right diet can help her to feel better and can improve her quality of life immeasurably.