How do in-home caregivers detect malnutrition in seniors?
In-home caregivers, in the Brookline and Boston MA areas, are trained to recognize malnutrition, which is when a person doesn’t have the required amount of nutrients to function. It typically involves experiencing an imbalance of calories, protein, and other vitamins that you need throughout each day.
Malnutrition can be harmful at any age, but it can impact seniors especially hard. When a senior is malnourished, it leaves them vulnerable to slower recovery times, increased risk of falling, possible hospitalizations and re-hospitalizations, and possible death.
Various factors can cause malnutrition in seniors, including lack of ability to chew and swallow, loss of appetite, and increased use of medications. Other risk factors include dementia, depression, lack of access to optimally nutritious food, whether because of lack of ability to make or shop for food or food insecurity, and chronic diseases.
How to monitor and prevent malnutrition
Suppose you are a caregiver to a senior loved one. In that case, you can take the necessary steps to help monitor nutritional health, watch for weight loss, and determine any risk factors of malnutrition. It would be best if you considered the following:
Monitor weight: Help to check your loved one’s weight at home and keep a weekly record. Monitor for any changes to how clothes are fitting as this can be an indication of weight loss.
Observe habits: Spend mealtimes together to observe their eating habits at home. Take a note of the kinds of foods that are being eaten and how much they’re eating.
Keep track of medications: Keep a record of all your loved one’s medications, the reason they are taking them, treatment schedules, dosages, and any possible side effects.
Help with meal plans: Help to plan some healthy meals or prepare some meals ahead of time. Help them prepare a shopping list and go shopping together. Here are resources for healthy eating.
Use local services: Contact some local services that provide in-home visits from dietitians or nurses, at-home meal deliveries, access to a food pantry, or other nutrition programs.
Make meals a social event: Drop by your loved one’s home during mealtime or invite them to your house for a meal occasionally. Go out to eat at a restaurant that provides senior discounts. Encourage them to participate in social programs that have members within the same community eat together.
Encourage physical activity: Even daily, light exercise can help to stimulate your loved one’s appetite and strengthen their muscles and bones.
In-home caregivers in Brookline and Boston MA: things to consider
In-home caregivers can help seniors to manage their nutrition and health as they age, which can be a difficult task. If you are the sole care provider to a loved one, speak with their doctor and ask for help when needed. Their doctor can discuss their risk of malnutrition with you.
TeamCarer provides team and technology-based care for in-home seniors who need daily living assistance such as bathing, grooming, dressing, personal hygiene, medication reminders, and other care needs. We are a local home health aid services company, with service areas in Boston, Brookline, Newton, Needham, Wellesley, Dedham, Westwood, Norwood, Medfield, Walpole, Canton, and Sharon. Contact us today to get started.