Whether it is due to health problems or depression, malnutrition can be a serious issue among the elderly. If your senior loved one isn't getting the right nutrients, he is at risk of muscle weakness, fatigue, a poor immune system and weight loss. Luckily, you can do some things to help your loved one stay healthy. Here are five helpful tips for preventing malnutrition in the elderly:
Encourage Your Family Member to Exercise
Regular exercise does not just improve muscle strength and help fight off diseases; it can also help increase appetite. If your elderly loved one exercises most days of the week, he or she will have a better appetite. If your family member can't do high-intensity workouts, suggest low-impact exercises, such as swimming or walking.
Add Spices to Food
If your elderly loved one's taste buds have changed, a lot of foods might taste bland to him or her. Adding different spices to his or her meals can make food taste flavorful again. For example, if you are cooking your family member a chicken breast, put some lemon pepper or garlic powder on it.
Another good way to help your elderly loved one get extra calories is to provide nutritious snacks. For example, you could give your family member a handful of almonds or an avocado a couple hours before dinner. Snacks like these are full of healthy fats and other nutrients that your loved one needs.
Add Extra Nutrients to Meals
You can help your senior family member consume more calories by adding extra nutrients to his or her meals. For instance, you can put peanut butter on his or her toast or add walnuts to the oatmeal. If your loved one likes eating salads, add a protein source to them, such as chickpeas or eggs.
Check Your Loved One's Medication
It is likely that your elderly loved one has to take at least one or two medications a day. Unfortunately, certain medications can decrease your family member's appetite. If you discover that your family member's medicine is decreasing his or her appetite, you should make an appointment with a doctor to discuss other options.
Malnutrition can lead to a lot of health problems in the elderly, so it should not be taken lightly. If you follow these helpful tips, you can help your elderly loved one get all of the nutrients he or she needs. However, if your family member is still malnourished, schedule an appointment with a doctor soon. Go to site resources to learn how retirement homes can help you in ensuring your loved one is eating properly.