Problems with Elderly Nutrition
Elderly nutrition can result from a series of causes. Our parents and grandparents rarely want to be a burden, but as they get older, it becomes increasingly our responsibility as adults to give them the same care that they gave us when we were growing up. If you are blessed with having aging parents deep into your adult years, then you should begin to monitor them carefully to make sure they are still feeding themselves properly.
Sometimes it is difficult to distinguish elderly malnutrition from other diseases that the older generation is prone to suffer. For this reason, it is important to inform yourself about the reasons why the elderly might suffer from malnutrition. Here are the most common causes:
Many elderly are too proud to ask for help when they run into problems with their nutrition. They have been self-sufficient for so long that they simply can’t bring themselves to give up responsibility for their well-being. Even the best retirement plan is sometimes not enough to provide for someone who has lived deep into say their 90’s. However, studies show that many older people suffer from malnutrition simply because they cannon afford to eat right. Often the cost of living has outpaced their elderly nutrition plans or they are forced to choose between medications and adequate food.
Another common problem that can impede elderly nutrition is transportation. As older people reach the age where they can no longer safely drive, getting to the store becomes a much greater challenge. If the older person does not have someone to take them, they may put off going or when they do go not get enough food to bide them until their next sojourn.
Lack of Appetite
Many older people also find that they no longer feel hungry in the way they used to when they were younger. This lack of appetite is a common condition among the old, like insomnia and incontinence. Without their regular appetites to guide them, many older people begin to miss meals or to eat only sparingly, which can weaken their health. This can hasten the decline of an older person as they begin to feel too weak or lazy to go prepare meals, thus creating an even more severe problem.
Side Effects of Medication
Often the many medications that doctors prescribe for older people will have unintended effects when it come to appetite or diet. Not only do many of the medications put a dent in the older person’s wallet, but also they may directly affect their desires to eat. Many medications can make older people feel nauseous or can make them lose their appetites altogether.
Yet another condition that has an effect on elderly nutrition is dental health. First, is the cost of keeping teeth and mouths healthy. For many older people, this added expense can be prohibitive. Even when it is not, some dental problems are more difficult to fix. Gum disease, problems with dentures, and the usual sorts of dental difficulties can make eating properly an ordeal.
Finally, many old people have such severe restriction to their diet that they come to take little pleasure in eating. Not able to eat the savory, calorie rich meals they used to have as younger people, much of the pleasure in eating drains away. With little pleasure in the taste of food, many stop eating as much or as well as they used to, thus hasting the problems associated with poor elderly nutrition.
If you are a caretaker of an older person, it is important that you watch out for the signs of poor nutrition. Many of these signs are also common to other kinds of diseases and ailments common to the elderly, so you should pay careful attention and make sure your parents and grandparents go to the doctor regularly.