Elderly Malnutrition

Elderly Malnutrition

Elderly Malnutrition; Spot the Signs of Malnutrition in your Elderly Relative

As we age, our bodies require fewer calories, yet we require more protein, calcium, B vitamins, and other nutrients. Unfortunately, there remains a surprising lack of awareness about the specific dietary needs of seniors and how nutrition plays a key role in their well-being and longevity.

Seniors are particularly susceptible to malnutrition, because not only do they have different nutritional needs than younger adults, they also take more medications, and have higher rates of chronic medical conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. They also may be experiencing a change in their taste buds, a lack of appetite, or depression – or may just have trouble getting used to new nutritional needs after decades of employing certain eating habits.

9 Ways You Can Help a Senior Get the Proper Nutrition

Remember, identifying and treating nutrition issues early can promote good health, senior independence, and increased longevity. Take steps now to ensure your loved one’s nutrition.

  1. Talk to the senior’s doctors. If a senior is losing weight, work with his or her doctors to identify and address contributing factors. Changing medications that affect appetite, kerbing or eliminating any diet restrictions until the nutritional problem passes, and working with a dentist to treat oral problems can help. Ask for screenings for nutrition problems during routine office visits, and inquire about nutritional supplements. You might also request a referral to a registered dietitian.
  2. Encourage him or her to eat nutritious foods. Spread peanut butter or other healthy spreads on toast and crackers, fresh fruits, and raw vegetables. Sprinkle finely chopped nuts or wheat germ on yoghurt, fruit, and cereal. Add extra egg whites to scrambled eggs and omelettes, and encourage use of whole milk. Add cheese to sandwiches, vegetables, soups, rice, and noodles.
  3. Liven up bland foods. Add lemon juice, herbs, and spices to foods. If the senior is experiencing a loss of taste and smell, try some new seasonings and recipes.
  4. Encourage healthy snacks. A piece of fruit or cheese, peanut butter by itself or as a spread, or a fruit smoothie can provide healthy nutrients and extra calories.
  5. Make meals social events. Visit at mealtimes, or invite seniors for dinner at your home or out at a restaurant. Encourage seniors to join programs and senior centres where they can dine with others.
  6. Make sure seniors get regular physical activity. Even light daily exercise can stimulate appetite while strengthening bones and muscles.
  7. Provide tips for saving money. Persuade seniors to have a shopping list at the store, check store flyers for sales, and select less expensive brands. Suggest splitting the cost of bulk goods or meals with friends or family members, and dining at restaurants with senior discounts.
  8.  Boost hydration for overall good health. Seniors should get at least 64 ounces of healthy fluids per day.
  9. Consider outside help. If necessary, hire a caregiver to shop for groceries or prepare meals. Consider Meals on Wheels and other community services. Your local Area Agency on Ageing or a county social worker also might be helpful.

The following are typical reasons for senior malnutrition:

  • Lack of interest in cooking
  • Living alone and eating for one
  • Changing taste buds
  • Medication side-effects that suppress appetite or create bitter tastes
  • Restricted diets such as low sodium or low-fat diets
  • Depression
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Trouble eating, due to sore gums
  • or poor dental health
  • Limited income to buy nutritious food
  • Paying for expensive medications
  • instead of food
  • Lack of mobility to get to the store
  • Dementia

If you suspect senior malnutrition, watch for these signs:

  • Excessive or prolonged sadness
  • Lack of energy
  • Memory issues or oncoming dementia
  • Getting sick often
  • Bruised or dry, cracked skin
  • Wounds that are slow to heal
  • Out-of-date food in the fridge
  • Trouble chewing or swallowing
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Loose-fitting clothes
  • Muscle weakness

Comfort Keepers® can help. Our care workers can watch for the signs of malnutrition and help plan and prepare healthy meals for loved ones. They will also take note of the senior’s overall health, see that they take medications, help them follow dietary guidelines, and perform daily tasks around the home. Call your local office today to discover all of our available services.

This most may have been first published on www.comfortkeepers.com

CTA Case Studies

We are here to take your call and will provide impartial support and guidance – contact our friendly care experts today to discuss your nurse-led care needs.


0808 239 1525

Jobs FAQs

What shifts or rotas are available for professional carers?

Our branches have a wide variety of hours and rotas which means it’s possible to find shifts that fit in with your life situation, whether you want a full time role or are just looking for a few hours a week. All that we ask is that you commit to the hours you can do two weeks in advance.

Do I need care experience to join?

Six months’ professional care experience is ideal - such as a domiciliary carer, care assistant, homecare worker, support worker or healthcare assistant. However, if you are new to care some branches do offer training leading to care certificates, so please contact the recruitment team to discuss on 0808 239 9716.

Do I need a driving licence?

A full clean driving is required for some roles, but not all. Job roles normally state if a driving licence is required, but if you are unsure then please contact the recruitment team on 0808 239 9716.

What pre-employment checks do you do?

To join Prestige Nursing & Care as a professional carer you will be required to apply for a DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check, unless you are registered with the update service.

We can help you apply via your local branch. When you work with children and vulnerable adults a DBS check is a legal requirement. Find out more about DBS checks: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/disclosure-and-barring-service/about.

We also require two professional references, one of which should be your current or most recent employer.

Finally, you will be required to provide proof of eligibility to work in the UK, NI number, ID and proof of address. Your recruiter will talk you through all requirements and support you all the way.

What training do I need to complete before starting work?

You will need to complete both online e-learning modules and virtual training via Microsoft Teams. This is very flexible and can be completed from home as long as you have a compatible device. Find out more about the training we offer.

Is the training free?

Yes, the training is completely free.

Do you offer regular patterns of work?

Yes, our branches offer a wide variety of hours and shift patterns.

Will I be employed by Prestige Nursing & Care?

You would become a member of our team with a contract for services. You would be eligible for things like SSP and holiday, as well as a NEST workplace pension.

How old do you have to be to work as a carer?

You need to be 18 years old to join our care team and there is no upper age limit.

How often will I get paid?

We pay all our professional carers weekly.