An insufficient, excessive, or unbalanced nutrient intake results in malnutrition. Malnutrition can take many different forms, but the two most common are undernutrition (receiving fewer nutrients than necessary) and overnutrition (receiving more nutrients than necessary).
This article focuses on undernutrition, which older adults are susceptible to due to a variety of risk factors. Inadequate nutritional intake may be caused by poor eating habits or appetites combined with extra nutritional needs brought on by underlying medical conditions. Read on to find out the ways your can prevent malnutrition in your senior years.
Symptoms of Malnutrition
Before we dive into the steps to prevent malnutrition, here are some common symptoms of malnutrition to look out for:
- Tiredness and agitation
- Inability to concentrate
- Loss of body tissue, muscle, and fat
- Trouble breathing
- Dry and thin skin
- Sunken eyes and hollow cheeks
- Hair fall
If you recognize these symptoms, find out how you can prevent malnutrition with the following tips.
Have Small but Frequent Meals
If having large meals is a tough task for you, aim to plan in six small meals throughout the day. As compared to having three large meals, it is easier to consume six smaller meals, especially for those with malnutrition.
On days where you feel that your appetite is good, eat more. Whether it be morning, afternoon, or night, take advantage of the times where you feel hungry and crave for food.
On the other hand, on days where you are not able to consume an entire meal, grab a small snack or a dessert instead.
Make Healthier Choices
Nutrient-rich foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats are the healthiest options. Try to reduce the amount of salt, sugar, alcohol, and solid fats that you consume. It is also important to have healthier alternatives to less healthy foods. For example, instead of a fizzy drink or alcohol, opt for a healthy banana smoothie that is equally tasty but filled with benefits.
Make Mealtimes Fun
Many older adults avoid eating because they do not want to eat alone. Try to make mealtime a social activity. Make plans to have meals with your loved ones and family members so that eating becomes an enjoyable occasion that you look forward to.
Consider Nutritional Supplements
Your dietician may suggest supplemental nutrition drinks to increase your intake of protein, energy, and micronutrients. This might assist in making up for any appetite loss or weight loss.
Depending on your taste preferences, there are numerous nutritional supplement options available. Consult your dietitian about your plans before including these supplements in your diet.
Move to an Assisted Living Community
Assisted living communities offer freshly-cooked meals for its residents throughout the day. At The Park Oak Grove, a uniquely-designed program, Sensations Dining, is offered to ensure a healthy dining experience on-site.
Professional chefs whip up delicious and nutritious meals that will meet your daily nutritional needs to prevent malnutrition in your senior years. Simply sit back and enjoy as dedicated team members serve you your meals daily.