When your elderly family member isn’t getting the right mix of nutrients for her needs, her body can’t do what it needs to do. She may end up becoming sick more often or even find that her chronic health issues are more difficult to manage.
Under-nourished Aging Adults
Most people are familiar with under-nourishment as a definition of malnutrition. Very often older adults don’t eat as much as they should or they eat foods that are more empty calories than useful nutrients. Your elderly family member may have also lost a lot of weight, which can lead to malnourishment due to not having the nutrients that she needs. Some medications can also make your senior unable to take in nutrients from the foods she’s eating.
The flip side of malnutrition is one that often surprises people. Being over-nourished means that your senior is getting too many nutrients, often talked about in a generic form as calories rather than as nutrients. Your senior might not be as active as she once was, for instance, and yet hasn’t changed how she eats. That can lead to her gaining weight, even if she’s eating foods that are technically healthy for her.
Get Her Doctor’s Opinion
If you suspect that your elderly family member isn’t getting the right balance of nutrition for her needs, start out by talking to her doctor. Her doctor might recommend working with a nutritionist or dietician to really narrow down the nutritional goals that your senior should be striving for at this stage. There’s more to it than simply counting calories or reducing salt intake.
Cooking Isn’t Always Easy or Fun
One problem your senior might run into at this stage is that cooking, especially if it’s just for her, isn’t always a fun or easy thing to do. Hiring home care providers to do the cooking for her solves that problem and removes the barrier she’s experiencing between nutrition and improving her health. This is a really easy solution that you and your senior might have overlooked. With someone else handling the difficult part of getting the right mix of nutrients, your senior might find that she really enjoys her new way of eating.
Getting a handle on making sure your senior is getting her nutritional needs met can feel impossible. There really is a happy medium, though, and with some patience and attention to the smaller details, you and your elderly family member can find that sweet spot. Don’t give up, even if your senior isn’t excited about trying a new way of eating, because the results can be worth it.