An Invisible Epidemic: Malnutrition Among Seniors

A serious health issue for seniors is malnutrition. There are many seniors that are at risk of inadequate nutrition. Malnutrition can lead to unintentional weight loss, which contributes to an overall decline in health. An article, published by Carol Evans (M.S., M.A., RNP), states that chronic malnutrition can significantly increase the use of health care services, cause premature admissions to a hospital or skilled care facility, and reduce physical and cognitive function.  In the end families

In the end, there are costs at the expense of the individual or families to plan, control, and pay for treatment. 

The Mayo clinic mentions ways to monitor nutrition and prevent malnutrition. One of their articles, written by Ann Reed Mangels (PhD, RD), mentions physical changes with aging, environmental and psychological factors, and social issues impacting a seniors health and nutrition. Learning more about nutrition, cooking, and personal health nutritional absorption can be solutions to prevent malnutrition. 

Here are some tips to help an elderly loved one prevent malnutrition: 

  • Consult a physician if the senior has complications with eating or drinking. A screening may be useful to rule out the risk of malnutrition.
  • Seek outside help. Sign up for a prescribed and/or specialized food plan, speech therapy, or seeing a registered dietitian or nutritionist to help regulate nutrition.
  • Look into home meal delivery services if meal preparation is not applicable. Other options can include having a family, friend, or caregiver assist with the preparation of meals. 
  • Look into food and nutrition programs in your area or see the eligibility criteria for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). 
  • Avoid distractions during meal times to improve food intake.
  • Prevent dehydration by drinking water, especially in the summer. It is also a good idea to have snacks that have high water content.

If there are any specific resources that you or an elderly loved one are still in search of or in need of further assistance with, please don’t hesitate to contact us for help!

WellPath Partners is your senior resource referral guide. Follow us on ALL social media platforms and join us weekly for more content and public health discussions.

By: Hilda Huambachano

Placement Coordinator at WellPath Partners

B.S. in Health Science & Biology at San Diego State University 

MPH Candidate at California State University, Long Beach

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