Unfortunately, there are many senior citizens who are either under-nourished or malnourished. This is especially the case for many elderly adults who are still living alone. If you are the family caregiver for a loved one, it is important to recognize the signs of malnourishment. It isn’t as easy to spot the signs as it may seem. You might envision a frail old man or woman. However, it is more than that. The best way to recognize malnourishment is with WATCH. This stands for watching, asking, talking, checking, and having.
The first part of looking out for malnourishment is watching. You want to be watching for signs of a problem. Are there physical issues you see? Did your loved one lose a lot of weight quickly or even over time? See if they have bruises, as that can be a sign of malnourishment. Are you noticing issue with their teeth? This could be a sign they aren’t eating healthily.
Ask your loved one what they are eating. They may not even realize they aren’t eating enough or well enough. Ask them if their eating schedule has changed or if they noticed they aren’t eating foods they used to eat. Ask them if they are eating full meals or just snacking throughout the day.
It is important to talk to your loved one’s doctor. Let them know about the nutritional changes your loved one has talked to you about. Ask them if they can give you a list of nutritional foods for seniors. Maybe they can give you nutritional information you weren’t aware of. When it comes to elder care, talking is one of the best things you can do in regards to their nutrition.
Check on your loved one’s medications. Does the label say anything about issues related to hunger or food intake? Check through your loved one’s cabinets and refrigerator to see what foods they have in their home. Are they buying nutritional foods? Do they need you to start going shopping with them to assure they get the proper foods?
Lastly, have you visited your loved one during their mealtimes? This will give you a first-hand sight of what they are eating and what they aren’t. In addition, this will give you the opportunity to socialize with your loved one, so they don’t feel as lonely, which could also boost their appetite. Many seniors seem to eat more when others are around, then when they are on their own.
When it comes to elder care, nutrition is important for every part of their well-being. If you start using the WATCH method, you can help your loved one to eat better. You can help to make sure they don’t get malnourished. If you do notice issues, be sure to talk to them and their doctor right away. This could prevent any further issues with their health.