It’s an old saying most of us have heard and practiced while growing up, “eat everything on your plate.” As we age, there are many factors in which proper nutrition is not met. Poor nutrition and malnutrition occur in 15 to 50 percent of the elderly population. Whether it’s because of physical limitations or financial hardship, many seniors don’t eat as well as they should. Arthritis can make cooking difficult, while certain medications can reduce appetite, making meals unappealing. The best way to find out if your loved one is not eating well, look for the following red flags.
- Side effects of medications: Certain medications can reduce appetite, cause nausea, or make food taste differently.
- Seniors are more likely to suffer from dental problems. Ill-fitting dentures, jaw pain, mouth sores and missing teeth can make chewing painful. All of these factors make it increasingly difficult for the elderly to eat healthy foods.
- Many seniors are on fixed or limited incomes. If he is worried about money, a senior may cut back on grocery expenses or buy cheaper and less-nutritious foods to stretch his budget.
- Lack of Transportation: Most of the elderly do not have active drivers license’s and the thought of fighting traffic and crowds are unappealing. *Physical difficulty: Physical pain and poor strength can make even simple tasks (opening a can, peeling fruit, and standing long enough to cook a meal) too challenging.
- Forgetting to Eat: Dementia or Alzheimers can hurt a senior’s ability to eat a variety of foods on a regular schedule and remember what to buy at the store. One may keep eating the same foods over and over without realizing it, or skip meals entirely because they don’t know the last time they ate.
- Depression: automatically causes a loss of appetite.
Meals on wheels is an excellent program that delivers hot, healthy, and nutritional meals. They can be reached at 239 775-0443.