Nutrition is an essential requirement for any human being, but elderly nutrition problems have become more prevalent. Nutrition encompasses how the body acquires and utilizes nutrients to sustain life as well as the linkage of diet, health and disease. Good nutrition habits have unlimited benefits as it makes one stay energized, maintain a healthy weight, lower risk of getting diseases among other countless merits.
However, there are nutrition problems that arise especially to the elderly generation. Old age and nutrition problems go hand in hand. It is common to see malnutrition among the elderly group as compared to the younger generation in recent times. These problems can be challenging, but there are also counter measures to curb this menace.
Health Concerns & Immune System
There are several health concerns that may arise as one gets older due to inadequate nutrition. First, older people may experience a weaker immune system that makes one more vulnerable to infections. This might henceforth, expose the elder persons to risks of acquiring other deadly diseases due to a weak immune system that is unable to fight off the infections. Secondly, they may also experience slow healing of wounds.
Therefore, wounds may be exposed to deadly infections and thus, cause more health complications to the elderly. Moreover, the elderly may suffer from reduced bone mass and weak muscles. This causes fractures as well as falls, both of which are dangerous. In addition to that, they also face a peril of hospitalization and also death. Thus, this shows how inadequate nutrition can lead to deadly health situations among the elderly.
Nutrition Problems In The Elderly
What are the causes to these nutrition problems among the elderly or the senior generation? Well, it all results from physical, psychological and social realities. One of such is the obvious age-related variations.
Variances in taste and smell as well as appetite reduce as one’s age increases which translate to poor eating habits and thus causing malnutrition. Also, there is increased illnesses usually reduce their appetite and also the process in which the body assimilates nutrients. Moreover, they may be as a result of challenges in chewing or swallowing and thus impair their eating habits.
There is also, Dementia which basically is a disorder that makes elder people to apparently forget to eat which would as a result lead to nutrition problems. Medication is another risk factor since, some medicines that may be administered to the elderly may come at a cost in reducing their appetite which would cause malnutrition. In addition to that, they may as well be restricted to some foods comprising of salt, fats, protein which would obviously reduce their eating habits and cause inadequate nutrition.
Other social factors may include limited income, whereby the elderly are unable to purchase health foods such as groceries. Again, they may be antisocial which would lead them to lose their interest in both cooking and eating. Due to their old age, they may find it difficult to be mobile and thus, reduce their access to healthy foods.
Depression is another cause especially considering the lifetime experiences and traumas that the elderly must have experienced in their life, and this causes a lose of appetite. Finally, alcoholism has a greater effect on the elderly because it interferes with the normal digestion system and leads to poor eating habits.
All of these factors are some of the major causes that lead to inadequate nutrition among the elderly community. However, there are several remedies and measures that can be taken to correct the nutrition problems that the elderly face.
First, the elderly may choose to monitor their weight on a weekly basis, even if it’s through small things like how well clothes fit. Secondly, is through observing their eating habits form the quantities consumed to the types of foods they eat. This will help define the right variety of nutrition’s diet in elderly persons’ diet.
Thirdly, is monitoring the medications being administered to the elderly and keeping a keen watch on their side effects especially if they touch on nutrition problems. Moreover, helping the elderly make a shopping list of healthy foods can be a good strategy that can save their life. On the other hand, may it might be helpful to use meal home delivery agencies to ensure that the elderly maintain good eating habits and reduce the risks of nutrition problems.
Overcoming Nutrition Problems
Another consideration that can be put in place is making mealtimes to be social. This will make eating refreshing and thus, the elderly will gain their appetite and assimilate good eating habits. Finally, physical activity plays a crucial role in nutrition health of the elderly because it makes their bones stronger and also increases their appetite.
Thus, if these recommendations encompass healthy snacks, nutrient-rich foods, supplementary nutritional foods and drinks and other discussed recommendations, then the nutrition problems in the older generation will be minimized extensively.
Putting It All Together
In conclusion, we have branched on what nutrition is, the problems in nutrition that the elderly face, and finally the solutions to those difficulties. Some of the problems discussed comprised, weak immune systems, decreased body mass, poor healing of wounds, hospitalization and even risk of death.
Also, we have looked into the causes of malnutrition which ranged from age-related factors, increased illnesses which reduce their appetite and disrupt the normal processing of nutrients by the body. We also discussed on Dementia and also other social issues such as low income that would make it difficulty for the elderly to buy health and nutritious foods as well as alcoholism that disrupts digestion and leads to poor eating habits among other causes.
Finally, we discussed on potential solution to such nutrition problems such as monitoring the eating habits for the elderly, monitoring their weight, checking up on the medications that they use to ensure that it’s side effects don’t affect their eating habits, and also physical activity among the elderly as it increases their appetite and makes their bone structure stronger, among other remedies. Therefore, if the discussed remedies are to be taken into action then, the problems that the elderly face in nutrition will be reduced by a great deal.