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What may be causing malnutrition in my elder relative?

According to the Mayo Clinic, malnutrition in older adults can manifest in a number of ways, from wounds that are slow to heal, to laggard defenses against disease, to weakness in the muscles and a lessening of bone mass. If you have an elderly relative who resides in a New Mexico nursing home and is showing some of these signs, there are some reasons why this might occur and are worth investigating.

Sometimes a lack of nutrition may be caused by a diet intended to help an elderly person deal with a medical condition. Some diets that minimize the consumption of fat, sugar, protein or salt may unintentionally motivate a senior to eat less. It is important to make sure that a senior’s nutrient needs are balanced along with any requirement to cut out fats or sugars.

Cognitive issues can be a serious problem since afflicted adults will have problems feeding themselves or taking any initiative to find something to eat. A person suffering dementia who shows signs of malnutrition is probably not being fed enough. Other health problems, like difficulty with swallowing, may make it an ordeal to eat. Some seniors may also have pains in the stomach or the intestines, which makes eating an undesirable activity.

You should also pay attention to the psychological problems that can cause malnutrition. A senior that suffers from depression, grief or loneliness may cause a lack of appetite. Seniors who eat alone may not find a meal to be enjoyable and start passing on meals. These signs may indicate that a senior is not being encouraged or helped to mix in with other residents at a home.

It is possible that malnutrition issues indicate a medical problem that needs to be dealt with. But if you suspect a nursing home is not taking proper steps to help your loved one to eat, you may have to consider moving your relative elsewhere. Keep in mind that this article is only written to give you information on this topic and should not be taken as legal advice.

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