Inadequate nutrition is a potentially dangerous issue for elderly adults, leading to increased risk for a wide variety of health problems and complications, but unfortunately a large percentage of the older adult population of the United States lives with chronic malnutrition. In fact, experts note that between 29 and 61 percent of elderly adults who are admitted to the hospital for any cause arrive with malnutrition. Being able to recognize the possibility of malnutrition is important for you as a caregiver to be able to help your parent make changes to get the nutrition that they need.
Some of the signs that your aging parent might not be getting enough to eat or is suffering from malnutrition include:
- Obvious loss of weight, particularly if your parent was already thin and did not need to lose weight or was not actively trying to lose weight
- Increased or marked breathing difficulties
- Low body temperature
- Parent complaining of feeling cold even when they are adequately dressed and are in an environment that has a comfortable temperature
- Wounds that do not heal properly or that take an excessive length of time to heal
- Infections that do not clear up with proper medication or treatment, or that take an excessive length of time to clear up
- Frequent illnesses that take an excessive length of time for your parent to recover from or that seem to worsen
- Reduced muscle mass
- Skin that appears pale, thin, or dry
- Skin that has lost its elasticity
- Hair that begins to fall out
It is important to note that even if your parent appears to be of a normal weight or is even overweight, they still might be getting inadequate nutrition for their health. Pay attention to all signs so you can recognize if they are not getting enough to eat, or enough of the right things to eat.
If your caregiver efforts have become too much for you to feel that you can handle them successfully, you are dealing with extensive stress, or you simply feel that your aging parent would benefit from more diversification in the care that they receive, now may be the ideal time for you to consider starting home care for them. A home care provider can be with your parent on a schedule that works for their needs as well as your care efforts. This enables the care provider to give your loved one a highly personalized set of services designed to ensure that they receive the care, assistance, support, and encouragement necessary to keep them as safe, healthy, comfortable, happy, and independent as possible throughout their later years. When it comes to helping your parent get the nutrition that they need, this care provider can give your parent safe and reliable transportation to the grocery store to help them stock their kitchen, find recipes and foods that fit with their personal tastes as well as their health needs, and get into the kitchen with them to help them prepare meals and snacks that are right for them.
If you are considering hiring a professional caregiver in Lexington, Ohio, call the caring staff at Central Star Home Health at (419) 610-2161. Providing services for families in Mansfield, Lexington, Bellville, Mt. Gilead, Loudonville, Crestline, Galion, Shelby, Ashland, Wooster, and the surrounding areas.