WATCHing for signs of malnutrition in seniors - Sodexo Blog

WATCHing for signs of malnutrition in seniors - Sodexo Blog


Five simple ways to make sure your loved ones are not suffering from hunger and are getting the food(s) they need to stay healthy

Thursday, September 16, 2010 - 1:15pm


by Jim Booth, CEO of CK Franchising, Inc

As our bodies age, our nutritional needs do as well. A recent study by Meals on Wheels determined that a shocking 11 percent of American over 65 – more than 5 million seniors – are at risk for not getting the proper nutrition that they need.  Lack of adequate nutrition can lead to diminished independence in seniors because proper nutrition and maintaining an appropriate weight help reduce seniors’ risk for falls and diseases. In addition, appropriate nutrients can also improve energy levels.  

The signs and symptoms of seniors’ malnutrition are easy to overlook. Comfort Keepers® - a leading provider of in-home care for seniors - says it is important for those looking after seniors to “WATCH” for signs of malnutrition in aging seniors. “WATCH” is a mnemonic that makes it easier to remember the five steps to remember when observing nutrition in their loved ones: 

Watch for physical problems. Look for bruising, dental difficulties, or sudden or sustained weight gain or weight loss. 

Ask seniors about their eating habits. How have their tastes or preferences changed?

Talk to a doctor or Registered Dietitian. Discuss nutritional needs or problems specific to the loved ones’ unique needs or management of diseases.

Check with a pharmacist. They can warn you of the potential for drug-food interactions.

Have your visits during mealtime. This is the best time to observe eating habits first-hand.

If you suspect your loved one may be suffering from improper nutrition, speak to his or her physician or other health care provider. Finally, It is important to learn about all medications they are taking  – including herbal supplements, which can impact digestion and the effectiveness of medicines.

WATCH-ing for signs of improper nutrition can help increase independence and improve quality of life for our aging loved ones.

More information on Seniors hunger, available resources and how you can help

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