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Nutrition and Elder Care

Is Your Loved One Properly Nourished?

Nutrition is a vital part of overall health, but in the elderly person, nutritional problems may be unrecognized or under-diagnosed. Elderly individuals may not eat well for a variety of reasons, and in many cases, changes in nutritional status happen slowly. Since decreased muscle mass is a normal part of aging, signs of malnutrition and weight loss may go unrecognized until they become acute.

As people age, they need fewer calories to maintain their weight. At the same time, they don’t absorb nutrients as well, so the diet must be highly nutritious to prevent protein depletion and vitamin deficiency. Diminished sense of taste and smell and dental or gastrointestinal problems may cause the individual to limit certain foods. Many older people lose interest in preparing or eating food if they live alone. Physical limitations may prevent shopping or limit the ability to prepare food.

Promoting better nutrition in the elderly typically comes down to three main issues: assuring a well-balanced, nutritious diet, acquiring and preparing the meals and providing companionship. Good quality protein, healthy fats and plenty of fruits and vegetables, as well as some whole grains, should form the basis of the diet. Someone to do the shopping or an in-home meal service can ensure a client has access to foods. Companionship can make meals pleasant and encourage the client to eat.

We offer in-home services such as shopping and meal preparation. For more information about Patient Caregivers or to learn how Patient Caregivers can help you and your loved one, please contact us at (713) 227-3448.

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