Tactics That Can Enhance Nutrition In Elderly

Share Button

By Edward Francis

seniors2Malnutrition is a serious problem among the elderly, which is often underestimated. Of non-institutionalized elderly people, an estimated 10 to 50 percent suffer from malnutrition. There are different strategies to improve their nutrition, including dietary approaches, and the use of nutritional supplements.

What is malnutrition?

Malnutrition is a situation where a person’s body is not getting the correct nutrients that it needs to function well. It usually refers to a deficiency in energy producing foods and protein. When a person does not have the food they need, it can result in a decline of their body functions and poor health. Results may include lower muscle strength, reduced immune system, and slower healing of wounds and injuries. There can also be psychological effects, with detrimental impacts on attitude, mood, and self-esteem.

Causes of malnutrition in the elderly

Old people naturally eat less. As people age, there is a natural decrease in energy use, and an associated loss of weight and appetite. Aging also has some effects on the gastrointestinal system that reduce the absorption of some nutrients. Sometimes weakness, dementia, arthritis, pain in the mouth, or general confusion can hinder a person’s ability to eat, resulting in malnutrition. Anxiety, depression, illness, nausea, bereavement, resistance, alcoholism, or social anxiety can all contribute to a person having a poor appetite.

Some medications can interfere with a person’s nutritional status. For instance, they could cause altered tastes, confusion, dry mouth, vomiting, dyspepsia, diarrhea, or hypermetabolism. Some people may not have enough food to eat, either due to their financial situation, or difficulty doing the shopping. In this case, it is paramount for seniors to ask for help and find a way to improve their lifestyles and their diet habits. People who have cancer often suffer from malnutrition too, due to metabolic and physical changes, and the effects of treatments. Surgery can also cause metabolic changes.

Strategies to improve nutrition in seniors

seniorwoman2Before giving someone oral nutritional supplements, the first step should be to get as much of the nutrition as possible for them via their diet, with regular food and drink. This is called the “Food First” approach. Here are specific strategy suggestions.

• Try eating more times per day, with small servings. Instead of three large meals a day, try three small meals plus snacks, so that there is food eaten every 2 or 3 hours.

• Make the most of natural cycles. If a person is naturally hungrier in the morning, make that their biggest meal of the day.

• Eat favorite foods anytime. People are more likely to eat the food they like. If they like breakfast cereal, then why not allow eating this for dinner. If they want soup for breakfast, that’s fine. It will help them keep eating.

• Walk before meals. Taking a short walk before sitting down to eat can stimulate a person’s appetite.

• Drink after meals. Even a glass of water can make you feel more full, resulting in less food intake. Try drinking after eating instead of before.

• Stock convenience foods. Keep a regular supply of food that is easy to prepare and eat. This could include canned soup, pre-made pudding, cereal, nuts, fruit, granola bars, or frozen meals.

• Fortify meals. Add extra energy to meals by adding butter, cheese, salad dressing, honey, oil, or other calorie-rich additions.

Finding solutions for loss of appetite in seniors

Some medications may interfere with a senior’s ability to eat. A cooked breakfast in the morning with eggs, cheese, and baked beans prior to taking medications will keep them energized. Seniors with chewing and swallowing problems are more susceptible to malnutrition than others. In their case, the caregiver should modify the food’s consistency. Tender cuts of chicken meat, soups, and purées, are highly recommended. Adequate mouth and dental care should also be considered.

seniormanSenior people have extremely sensitive bodies. They have a slow metabolism that doesn’t burn much energy and they can’t eat because of the adverse effects of pills. Malnutrition is common in older people and it may lead to more aggressive illnesses, especially when the condition is also caused by mental problems. Caregivers should pay more attention to seniors’ diets and take action as soon as they spot irregularities.

– Edward Francis is interested in writing about health and fitness related issues. He has a deep knowledge at this field. Also he writes for a site supplemented.co.uk which offers high-quality vitamins and supplements at the best possible prices.

RadioMD Explores “Outsourcing” Hugging To Enhance Health And Well-Being

Share Button

healthywordsTouching is a powerful human connection and has inherent health benefits. Samantha Hess, a professional cuddler who owns Cuddle Up to Me, a for-hire cuddling service, maintains that everyone could use a hug.

People may be initial skeptics of the service, but if one puts their preconceived notions aside, there are many health benefits of cuddling. Appearing on www.RadioMD.com‘s show HER Radio, Hess explained to hosts Michelle King Robson and Dr. Pamela Peeke that “snuggling can be healing, therapeutic, comforting and restorative.”

Studies indicate that people have an innate ability to decode emotions via touch alone. If you are not receiving that affection from a significant other, does it makes sense to fill the void to cuddle with a stranger?

The topic of security and sexual arousal is natural concern when considering that Hess meets with strangers to administer her hugs, which can last a half an hour or even overnight.

“I have a strict security policy and do thorough background checks on every potential client. I meet with them initially in a public place, before meeting with them privately. Since hugging is very intimate if someone becomes sexually aroused during the session, there is an agreement to not act on it and we take a break if necessary to make sure that the session remains professional,” explained Hess, who maintains her Cuddle Up To Me website and is the author of “Touch: The Power of Human Connection.” .

HER Radio airs live Thursdays at 2pm (EST) on www.radioMD.com and is available on-demand at anytime. To hear this segment in the archive, visit http://radiomd.com/show/her-radio/item/18261-professional-cuddlers-the-power-of-human-connection

ABOUT RadioMD.com

RadioMD.com is a “talking” health information source featuring top guests and experts in the world of health and medicine that provide vital health and wellness content in spoken word form. Produced in a talk radio, easy to listen to conversational style, RadioMD shows help listeners understand everyday health issues as well as complex medical conditions. In addition to its variety of live, interactive talk audio features and programming, RadioMD offers an Audio Library of top talk shows on just about every health and wellness, diet & fitness subject. For more information visit www.radiomd.com.

– Submitted by David Brimm