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Why Malnourishment Goes Undetected in Senior Health Screenings

By , 8:00 am on

The image of impoverished people in faraway lands who are malnourished is a staple of every ad for donations to overseas charities, but the problem is much closer to home than many realize and most notably afflicts the elderly in shockingly high numbers.

A recent study in the Annals of Emergency Medicine found that 60 percent of elderly patients that were screened in the emergency room were malnourished. An even higher percentage, 77 percent, said they hadn’t been diagnosed before.

Reasons for this problem can stem from the person being down or depressed about their possible increasing infirmities, difficulty in going grocery shopping or basic financial concerns. It may also be based on whether any family members live near them. Other possibilities may relate to the specific diet they are on or medication side effects.

Seniors living with dementia or other memory related conditions are also at high risk for malnourishment. This often occurs because memory loss results in overeating or undereating, especially if the senior frequently forgets to eat meals or is no longer aware of the steps to make fresh, healthy meals. If you have a loved one that is living with dementia, learn more about in-home dementia care in Fairfield.

Such malnutrition can be addressed in a variety of ways, beginning with establishing a proper diet and treatment follow up. The awareness campaign FeedM.E. has established a protocol for doctors to assess elderly patients in the hopes of determining risk factors early on. Answering yes to two or more of the questions below by either the patients or someone caring for them will determine a course of action:

  • Have you been sick, injured or have an underlying health issue?
  • Experienced loss of appetite?
  • Lost weight without trying?

The eye-popping numbers above demand much greater recognition of this issue by medical staffs and family members. With approximately 20 percent of the United States population set to be 65 years or older by 2030, this problem will only get worse.

As a leading provider of home care in Fairfield, we focus not only on making sure that our senior clients are eating on a regular basis, but that the meals prepared are balanced and healthy. Our caregivers can also provide medication reminders for their senior clients and assist with personal care, transportation and more.

If you would like to learn more about in-home care services, reach out to a friendly Home Care Assistance Care Manager today. We can discuss options for hourly and live-in care in Fairfield and can also help you schedule a complimentary, no-obligation consultation so that you can get to know us better. Call 203-955-1915 today and take the first step toward peace of mind.