Did you know that 1 in 3 hospital patients are malnourished?
This annual burden of disease associated across the U.S. is nearly $157 billion dollars. In 2009, ASPEN ( American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition) recognized a need for greater awareness of malnutrition. Most common in hospitalized patients in the United States but also effecting our senior population as well – 1 in 10 of the elderly are malnutrition. The signs of malnutrition in older adults can be tough to spot, especially in people who don’t seem at risk — but uncovering problems at the earliest stage can help prevent complications later.
It’s important to speak with your physician or nutritionist about your nutrition, especially if you are experiencing any of the following:
*Unplanned weight loss (easy bruising, dental issues & poor wound healing)
*Lack of appetite
*Only being able to tolerate small amounts of food
*Feeling tired and weak
*Know your medications (many drugs can affect appetite, digestion and nutrient absorption)
Encourage loved ones to eat foods with nutrients, fruits and raw veggies are a good start. Eating the same bland food over and old becomes tiresome and creates a lack of wanting to eat, period. Try things like spices, lemon juice and herbs to add flavor! It is ok to snack between meals too, but try and make meal time a social event-it gives something to look forward to for everyone. If necessary, arrange for help with grocery shopping and meal preparations, Meals on Wheels for example. Good nutrition is critical to overall health and well-being for both the young and old — yet many older adults are at risk of inadequate nutrition. Know the causes and signs of nutrition problems in older adults, as well as steps you can take to ensure a nutrient-rich diet for an older loved one.