5 Common Signs of Malnourishment in Older Adults

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Malnourishment occurs when a senior is not getting the proper balance of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals, and it can happen even when the senior is consuming enough calories. These sorts of vitamin deficiencies and nutritional issues can cause a wide range of health issues, but they are very difficult to notice. Keep an eye out for the following five signs of malnourishment in your senior loved one. 

1. Long Recuperating Time

Without the proper nutrients, the immune system will not function properly and the body will have difficulty making new tissue. You may notice your loved one takes a long time to get over a cold, or he or she may have wounds that seem to take an unusually lengthy amount of time to heal. Make sure your loved one is getting plenty of protein because it contains the amino acids used to build new cells. He or she also needs proper amounts of zinc, selenium, iron, copper, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B6, and vitamin E to maintain proper immune functioning. 

If your senior loved one needs help managing an illness or assistance with daily tasks, make sure you choose a top-rated provider of home care. Des Moines Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one live a happier and healthier life in the golden years. From the mentally stimulating activities in our Cognitive Therapeutics Method to our friendly Care Managers who are available to answer your questions 24 hours a day, we offer a wide array of high-quality at-home care services.

2. Constant Fatigue 

If your loved one is malnourished, he or she may seem to be constantly tired. Your loved one may sleep more and feel too weak to do physical activities, which is a sign he or she needs more calories and nutrients. Fatigue may also be due to an iron deficiency. Without enough iron, your loved one may develop anemia, a condition where the body cannot get enough oxygen through the circulatory system. 

3. Changes in Behavior 

Seniors who are malnourished often have surprising changes in behavior. It’s common for them to become grumpy and easily annoyed. Some seniors may also have difficulty concentrating, and they might lose interest in things they used to enjoy. These types of behavioral changes might mean your loved one needs more food overall, but it may also be linked to vitamin D deficiencies. 

Aging in place can become challenging for seniors with vitamin deficiencies. If your elderly loved one needs help maintaining a high quality of life while aging in place, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a trusted provider of Des Moines home care. Our caregivers provide transportation to and from medical appointments and social events, nutritious meal preparation, assistance with daily exercise, and help with everyday tasks like bathing, grooming, and light housekeeping.

4. Difficulty Remembering Things 

If your loved one starts having difficulty remembering things, you may worry about dementia. However, the fogginess and difficulty with memory may be due to malnourishment. You should still check with the doctor, but the issue may be resolved by increasing your loved one’s food intake and giving him or her more B vitamins. 

5. Altered Appearance 

If your loved one is not getting enough to eat, he or she will lose fat and begin to drop weight. Weight loss can present itself as sunken eyes and hollow cheeks in some seniors. You may notice your loved one particularly loses muscle mass if he or she is not getting enough protein. Even if your loved one’s weight remains steady, he or she may begin to lose hair, or his or her skin may look pale, thin, and dry. B and D vitamins are essential to maintaining skin and hair health, and pale skin may be caused by anemia due to an iron deficiency.

Nutrient deficiency can lead to a poor-quality life for many seniors. If your elderly loved one needs help maintaining nutrient-rich diet, consider hiring a professional caregiver. Des Moines respite care professionals can assist seniors with a wide array of daily tasks, offering family caregivers the chance to focus on other personal responsibilities or take a break to prevent burnout. Whether it’s for a few hours a day or a few days a week, respite care is the perfect solution for family caregivers who are feeling overwhelmed. To learn more about our premier senior care plans, call Home Care Assistance at (515) 264-2438 today.

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