Exploring the Causes of Malnutrition
Many seniors struggle with a poor diet, something that sadly goes overlooked by friends and family members. Older adults may have qualms about leaving the house, especially given the risk of the coronavirus that remains ever-present. But the fact that an elder’s poor diet and malnutrition is a detrimental challenge to their health and safety is something that will never change.
Poor nutrition in seniors can cause a negative feedback loop. Failing to eat proper nutrients can weaken the immune system and the body, opening seniors up to serious complications such as infections, bone fractures, and more. Malnutrition can result in chronic fatigue, failing bone density, slow healing and increased falls, all of which can be the beginning of a slow descent of health problems and poor quality of life for seniors.
There are physical, social, and psychological factors that can cause a senior to experience malnutrition. Poorly fitting dentures or missing teeth can make chewing painful. Chronic pain conditions and many medications can reduce appetite. Struggling to stand for extended periods of time can make a senior unable to prepare meals in the kitchen. Conditions like Parkinson's or arthritis can make grasping kitchen tools nigh impossible.
Meals are also often a time to connect with friends and family, and many people are familiar with the practice of sharing their day and thoughts around the dinner table. Sadly, many seniors struggle with isolation and diminished social bonds, making meals a lonely affair not worth doing. Scheduling regular meetups to share a meal can alleviate this.