The Senior Malnutrition Epidemic: Your Senior Loved Ones May Be at Risk

jewish family services los angeles - senior malnutritionRemember Sunday dinners at Grandma’s, when the whole family came together around the table to share a hearty meal, conversations, and laughter? Unfortunately, with a lot of families now living a fair distance away from their older members of the family, together with so many demanding needs pulling us in various directions, it is difficult to continue this tradition – and it might be one of the numerous factors adding to the dramatic increase in senior malnutrition.

Up to 25% of all senior citizens in the United States are malnourished, leading to critical health problems. For many older adults who live alone, they simply are not motivated to cook properly for themselves. Others are experiencing grief, depression, anxiety, cognitive difficulties, poverty, medication side effects, and a lot more.

Whatever the underlying factors, seniors who are malnourished face compromised immune systems, longer and more complicated hospital stays, readmissions, and earlier mortality. And revealing senior malnutrition isn’t as easy as noticing weight loss in an older adult; people who appear in good health or even overweight may also be struggling with malnourishment problems.

One main aspect of detecting senior malnutrition and subsequently dealing with it lies in the hands of the medical community. Seniors should be screened for nutrition issues by their primary care doctor, and a dietary plan put in place. When hospitalized, hospital personnel should also look into any potential nutritional requirements, and include their findings and a recommended course of action in discharge paperwork to be discussed with care providers and the senior’s physician.

Loved ones also play an important role in ensuring the nutritional needs of senior loved ones are met, and in helping to uncover the root cause if problems are discovered. As an example, if financial concerns are preventing the senior from keeping a healthy diet, he or she may be eligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Presently, as many as three out of five older adults who do quality for the program are not using its benefits.

It is important to pay attention to signs that your senior family member might not be following a healthy diet, and to discuss any concerns with the senior’s physician. And call on JFS Care for quality Jewish family services Los Angeles and the surrounding area deserves and to help with establishing better nutritional habits for the senior family member. We are able to plan and prepare balanced meals, pick up groceries and make certain there are healthy food options in the fridge and pantry all the time, and supply friendly companionship that will make mealtime more pleasing. Contact us online or at (213) 383-2273 to help improve health and well-being for your senior loved one in the Los Angeles area.  Click here to see our full service area.