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Top 5 Signs of Malnutrition in Seniors


Senior Care in Lodi CA: Top 5 Signs of Malnutrition in Seniors

Poor nutrition is a big factor in an elderly person’s overall health condition. Far too many seniors are at risk for malnutrition and family caregivers may not even notice the symptoms well enough to intervene. Help an aging loved one get the best diet possible by learning how to recognize the top 5 signs of malnutrition in seniors and what can be done to prevent it in the future.


Seniors become malnourished in many ways, and it is almost never intentional unless they are struggling with an eating disorder. Common reasons for malnourishment include non-nutritious meals, not eating enough calories, skipping meals, suppressed appetite and improperly managed restricted diets like diabetes. Other causes include depression, dental issues that make eating painful, alcoholism and simply the inability to prepare food for themselves.


Family members and caregivers should look for these 5 warning signs of malnutrition in seniors:


1. Different Eating Habits

While it is perfectly normal for an elderly person’s appetite to diminish over the years due to medicine side effects, oral health and a more sedentary lifestyle, they still need to eat balanced meals and healthy snacks. Family caregivers may notice that food is just pushed around the plate instead of being eaten. Senior care aides can help track whether or not the elderly loved one is getting regular meals and what amounts are actually being eaten.


2. Changes to Skin and Hair

When seniors are malnourished, they usually have excessively dry skin and chapped lips. Lotions won’t seem to help much and the dryness may be so severe that the skin cracks. Many elderly people experience thinning hair as a result of aging, but hair thinning and loss are also signs of malnutrition. In extreme cases, seniors may have a hard time with their wounds healing from lack of nutrients in the body.


3. Persistent Weight Loss

Again, many seniors go through a period of shedding pounds as they age. Family caregivers can ensure their elderly loved one is getting regular doctor visits to monitor their health, including weight. Other signs are a change in the way their clothes fit and pinched or hollow facial features.


4. Declining Oral Health

Malnutrition causes problems with an elderly person’s mouth. Family caregivers may notice that their gums are starting to swell or bleed. In more advanced cases of undernourishment, the teeth start to decay. Regular visits to their dentist can help distinguish issues with malnourishment versus other oral health issues.


5. Everything Slows Down

A malnourished body doesn’t function as efficiently and starts to shut down. In seniors, this often means anemia, fatigue, a weakened immune system, muscle weakness and bloating. In serious cases, organs can start to shut down and lead to kidney failure, poor liver function, gastrointestinal problems, heart problems and more.


Because so many of the signs of malnutrition are similar to regular effects of aging, it can be tricky for family caregivers to notice the signs. By comparing notes with other family members, senior care aides, physicians and others, they can get a clearer picture of whether their aging loved one is suffering from malnutrition.


If you or an aging loved one are considering senior care in Lodi, CA, contact the caring staff at Provident Home Care. Call today (877) 572-3411.



Robin Conley RN, Owner and CEO

RN, Owner and CEO at Provident Care - Modesto, CA
When my grandmother’s health began to deteriorate... My greatest fear was that something would happen to her when I couldn’t be there. She had become unsteady on her feet, forgot to take her medications when she was supposed to, was not eating meals that fit into her dietary restrictions and often failed to recognize signs that she was getting into trouble. I knew that it was her firm desire to stay in her own home, but the amount of oversight I knew she needed was sometimes overwhelming for me to do alone. This is where my journey started! Providing care to seniors in our community is not just a job for me... It is something that has touched my life personally and something that I am passionate about! I know firsthand the worry and uncertainty caused when someone you love becomes ill or injured and how overwhelming the responsibility of caring for a loved one can be. I also know that finding a compassionate caregiver can often restore health, provide seniors with a renewed sense of control and independence, reduce depression, and relieve family members so they can once again be a caring son or daughter. So if you find yourself or someone you may know, in this situation... Our team of care managers and professional, compassionate caregivers at Provident Care would be honored to help you care for your loved one. Our staff is committed to caring for our clients as if we were caring for a member of our own family.

Robin Conley RN., Owner and CEO of Provident Care Home Care Providing HOME CARE- ASSISTED LIVING PLACEMENT ASSISTANCE

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