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How to Detect and Prevent Malnutrition in Elderly Adults

Elderly Care in Madison FL

As we age, our metabolism slows down, the immune system becomes weaker, and we do not have the strength or dexterity that we once had. This is exactly what elderly adults have to go through, Elderly-Care-in-Madison-FLmaking it so important to eat a healthy diet. By not eating the right foods, older adults may develop malnutrition.

Malnutrition is caused by more than a diet full of junk food and empty calories. There are several reasons this illness can develop, including:

  • Strict diet: Some diets restrict the use of salt, sugar, fat, or protein due to health problems. This cause the elder to not eat the foods their body needs.
  • Health reasons: It is not uncommon for older adults to have a change in appetite or problems eating, especially if they have dementia or problems with their teeth. However, this diminished appetite could be the reason the senior develops malnutrition.
  • Isolation: Elders who live alone often do not enjoy spending time in the kitchen preparing meals when they are only cooking for themselves.
  • Consuming too much alcohol: Too much alcohol can wreak havoc on the digestive system, making it difficult to absorb nutrients.
  • Low income: Not having enough money to buy healthy groceries can also make it difficult for the elder to get the proper nutrients.
  • Depression: Depression can cause the elder to lose their appetite due to being lonely, coping with grief, or having to deal with a medical condition.

An elderly care provider can be used to keep your loved one company and to ensure they are eating healthy foods.


It can be pretty challenging to discover if a senior is malnourished. Unless you spend every meal with them, you probably do not have a clue what foods they are putting into their body. Most seniors will appear to be perfectly healthy, but will develop health complications later. If you spot any of these symptoms, discuss them with the elder’s doctor.

  • Weight loss. They seem to be losing weight for no reason, causing their clothes to become loose.
  • More injuries. Malnutrition can make it difficult for wounds to heal, can easily cause bruising, and may result in dental problems.
  • Check their kitchen. If you think your loved one is malnourished, check their pantry, cabinets, and refrigerator. This will give you a better idea of what kind of foods they buy.
  • Know what medications they take. Lack of appetite can be a side effect of some medications. Find out what prescription and non-prescription the elder is taking and speak with a pharmacist to determine if it could be causing them to lose their appetite.


If you can keep your loved one on a healthy diet from the start, you can prevent health complications associated with malnutrition. Here are a few ways to keep the elder healthy and getting the nutrients their body needs.

  • Work with their doctor. If you notice the elder is losing weight, talk to their doctor about it. They should be able to identify what is contributing to your aging parent’s weight loss.
  • Help them grocery shop. Shop with them to ensure they are buying the right foods. Fruits and veggies are important, but encourage them to buy foods that are packed in protein, fiber, and other necessary nutrients.
  • Have a between-meal snack plan. Before the senior reaches for a bag of chips or candy bar, have healthy snacks planned ahead of time and ready to go. This could be apples with peanut butter, a piece of cheese and fruit, or a fruit smoothie.

Malnutrition can cause major health problems if not detected. Help your loved one live a healthier life with these ideas.

If you or an aging loved one are considering elderly care in Madison, FL, please call the caring staff at Hopewell In-Home Senior Care today at 850-386-5552. Providing Senior Care Services in North Florida.



Jami D. Eddy

Jami Eddy is the Administrator and an owner of Hopewell In-Home Senior Care. She graduated from Florida State University in 2005 with a major in criminology and a minor in psychology. Jami has been with Hopewell for more than 10 years and is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the business.