Although eating well is important for people of all ages, it is especially important for senior citizens. However, physical limitations and various health issues often make it difficult for the elderly to get the nutrients that they need to maintain a healthy, balanced diet.
Unfortunately, 15 to 50% of the elderly population is subject to poor nutrition and malnutrition. In many cases, the symptoms of poor nutrition, such as disorientation, weight loss, and reduced energy, are often mistaken as symptoms of illness or disease.
Whether due to budget constraints or physical limitations, seniors often don’t eat as well as they should. Certain medications reduce appetite and make foods unappetizing. Eating well as we age can be especially challening for the elderly. Reasons why a senior citizen may miss a meal vary, from financial burden to forgetfulness.
Some possible causes of poor nutrition in the elderly include:
Poor oral health. Seniors are prone to suffering from a variety of dental problems. Poor-fitting dentures, missing teeth, mouth sores, and jaw pain can make chewing difficult and painful.
No transportation. In today’s world, shopping is more difficult for those without a vehicle or who are unable to drive. To make a trip to the grocery store, an elderly person faces a slew of challenges that may prove too difficult to make the trip.
Forgetfulness. A failing memory can affect a senior’s ability to eat on a regular schedule or remember what to buy when at the grocery store.
If you think that your aging loved one isn’t eating properly, pay attention, look for clues, and ask questions.