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SpokaneInnovaging2014

CHAPTER THREE n FINDING HELP Watching out for Malnutrition Spotting the Signs; Getting Help By Greater Spokane County Meals on Wheels Good nutrition is a foundation for nutrients are lacking if alcohol is substi- health at any age, but it is especially tuted for meals. important as we age. A healthy diet can Spotting the signs of malnutrition in older promote good health, independence adults can be difficult. Symptoms of poor and increased longevity. Unfortunately nutrition are often put down to “aging”, 1 in 4 adults are at risk of malnutrition. but uncovering problems at the earliest Malnutrition can often go undetected stage can help prevent complications and when left untreated, it can have later. There are several things you can serious health consequences. Those who do to detect malnutrition in a loved one. are malnourished may take up to twice First, observe your loved one’s eating as long to recover from an illness or sur- habits. Find out who shops for them or if gery. They may experience respiratory they have difficulty getting to the store. difficulties, muscle weakness which may Check their cupboards and refrigerator. Is lead to falls, depression and confusion. there a variety of foods available? Is there All of which may lead to a premature remain the same. Include nutrient richspoiled food in the refrigerator? Secondly, placement in a care facility. between meal snacks. Sometimes eatingnotice your loved one’s eating habits. The reasons for poor nutrition are often Spend time with them during meal times, smaller amounts more frequently is eas- complex. It may be caused by a combi- observing what and how much they eat. ier for one with a decreased appetite. nation of physical, social and psycho- Finally watch for weight loss. Have their Restore life to bland food. Make a logical issues. Certain health issues can clothes become loose? restricted diet more appealing by using lead to decreased appetite or trouble lemon juice, herbs and spices. If loss ofIf you are concerned about malnutrition eating. An older adult may experience taste and smell is a problem, experimentfor your loved one, you should consult difficulty swallowing or absorbing nutri- with seasonings and recipes. Encourage-their physician. There may be contribut ents. Certain medications or age related socialization with meals. Seniors whoing medical factors. They may be taking changes to taste or smell may decrease dine with others, whether with familymedications that affect appetite or have the enjoyment of food. Dental issues may or at senior meal programs tend to eatdiet restrictions which may be suspended cause difficulty chewing. A recent hospi- healthier.-until your loved one is eating more effec talization might be accompanied by loss of appetite or other nutrition problems. If your loved one has difficulty leaving-tively. They may have oral pain or chew ing problems which could be treated by the home to shop or trouble standing to Dementia also can contribute to mal- a dentist. Consider requesting screenings cook meals consider outside help, such nutrition. Although restricted diets may for nutrition problems during routine as Meals on Wheels who can provide be necessary to manage certain medical office visits, and ask about nutritional home-delivered meals, or other commu- conditions, they might also contribute to inadequate eating. Some seniors might nity services.supplements. You might also ask for a referral to a registered dietitian. have trouble affording groceries, espe- cially if they’re taking expensive medi- You can take action to help your loved cations. Depression and social isolation one to improve their nutrition. For exam- may result in a lack of interest in food or ple, you can encourage them to eat foods a loss of appetite. Too much alcohol can packed with nutrients. Although the interfere with the digestion and absorp- calorie requirements for a senior who is tion of various nutrients. In addition, less active decreases, their nutrient needs Greater Spokane County Meals on Wheels For more information visit our website has been serving our elderly and disabled at www.gscmealsonwheels.org. neighbors for 32 years. You may also contact us at: We deliver meals throughout Spokane 509-924-6976. County, including Spokane Valley, Spokane, Liberty Lake, Deer Park, and Cheney. THE OPINIONS OFFERED IN THIS ARTICLE ARE FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION ONLY. TO FURTHER EXPLORE THIS TOPIC, THE PUBLISHER ENCOURAGES YOU TO CONTACT TRUSTED PROFESSIONALS. 103


SpokaneInnovaging2014
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