Malnutrition is often due to one or more of the following factors: inadequate food intake; food choices that lead to dietary deficiencies; and illness that causes increased nutrient requirements, increased nutrient loss, poor nutrient absorption, or a combination of these factors.
Lack of food is the most cause of malnutrition in the poorer and developing countries. However, in developed countries like UK or USA the cause may be more varied. For example, those with a high calorie diet deficient in vital vitamins and minerals are also considered malnourished.
A lower metabolic rate and less physical activity mean seniors need fewer calories. Changes to sense of smell and taste can make food less tasty. We lose taste buds as we get older . Dental problems or gastrointestinal changes, such as lactose intolerance, can accompany aging and make eating uncomfortable.
The immediate causes of malnutrition are inadequate diet and disease, both of which can make each other worse; this is referred to as the infection-malnutrition cycle.
But some common signs of malnutrition in older people may include their clothing, jewellery and dentures becoming loose, having a reduced appetite, lack of interest in food and drink, tiredness, altered mood, and weakness.
The incidence and impact of malnutrition in older people is underestimated. The best option for treating malnutrition is to enhance normal eating and drinking. A “Food First” approach encourages eating frequent, small, high energy and protein meals and snacks.
If you suspect senior malnutrition, watch for these signs: Excessive or prolonged sadness. Lack of energy . Memory issues or oncoming dementia . Getting sick often. Bruised or dry, cracked skin. Wounds that are slow to heal.
Factors contributing to malnutrition Normal age-related changes. Illness . Impairment in ability to eat. Dementia. Medications . Restricted diets. Limited income . Reduced social contact.
Niacin is another mineral that helps the body convert food into energy. It’s also known as vitamin B-3 .
One study in Archiv Fur Kriminologie concluded that you can’t survive more than 8 to 21 days without food and water. People on their deathbed who are using very little energy may live only a few days or a few weeks without food and water.
How Can I Stimulate Appetite in my Elderly Loved Ones? Increase nutrient density, not portion size. Increase the nutrient density of the foods they serve not the volume. Set a regular eating schedule. Encourage social meals. Be aware of medication side effects. Consider using an appetite stimulant.
According to one article, those on their deathbeds can survive between 10 and 14 days without food and water. Some longer periods of survival have been noted, but are less common. Keep in mind that people who are bedridden aren’t using much energy.
To stay healthy, you need to eat a variety of foods from the four main food groups including: plenty of fruit and vegetables. plenty of bread, rice, potatoes, pasta and other starchy foods. some milk and dairy foods . some meat, fish, eggs, beans and other non dairy sources of protein.
Other symptoms of malnutrition include: reduced appetite. lack of interest in food and drink. feeling tired all the time . feeling weaker. getting ill often and taking a long time to recover. wounds taking a long time to heal. poor concentration. feeling cold most of the time.
The best way to prevent malnutrition is to eat a healthy, balanced diet. Preventing malnutrition plenty of fruit and vegetables. plenty of starchy foods such as bread, rice, potatoes, pasta. some milk and dairy foods or non-dairy alternatives. some sources of protein, such as meat, fish, eggs and beans.