Long Beach Senior Malnutrition Attorneys
It seems as though there are news stories on a regular basis about the national obesity epidemic - yet little attention is paid to the very real concern of malnutrition in the elderly population. Malnutrition is a dangerous, sometimes-deadly issue for seniors and it happens for many reasons.
What Is Malnutrition?
In its simplest form, malnutrition is a condition caused by not taking in enough nutrients to sustain a healthy life, either:
- Because the senior is not eating or drinking enough overall, or
- Because the senior is not eating the right foods (in other words, he may be eating enough calorically but not nutritionally).
Causes of Senior Malnutrition
Seniors suffering from malnutrition may be dealing with any one of the following factors:
- A lack of interest in cooking or food preparation, or a lack of mobility to undertake the same.
- Psychological stresses, depression, or memory issues.
- An inability to shop for themselves (may be due to transportation or financial issues) and/or to purchase fresh healthy foods
- Deteriorating health, swallowing issues, or tooth problems which create a physical challenge to healthy eating
- Side effects from medication or diagnosed diseases
- Restricted diets or health concerns
- Wanting to return to "comfort foods" from the past
Avoiding Senior Malnutrition
Ideally, any facility housing seniors would require regular health checkups. Nevertheless, not all of them do and not all seniors live in such facilities. So how can you prevent malnutrition?
- Shop with and for your senior. Getting out of the house will be good for him, and you can help him identify and find healthy choices.
- Monitor what’s in the house after purchase. Did the grapes you helped him buy get eaten, or are they growing moldy in the fridge?
- Make sure the senior is getting regular medical checkups to monitor his weight, body mass index, cholesterol, and other indicators of overall health.
- Be present during mealtimes so that you can see for yourself what and how your senior is eating. If you cannot be there all the time, try creating a regular schedule of visitors to help your senior become more invested in and excited about sharing meals.
What to Do If You Suspect Malnutrition
First and foremost, get your senior in for a complete physical and blood work checkup. This will give you a better understanding of what his physical condition is, and a place from which to begin monitoring. The senior’s doctor may also become your ally in advocating for better choices, whether the senior is at home or in a care facility. You can also help your senior get involved in his local community through some sort of exercise program, arts and crafts program, or simply by mentoring young people. Staying involved and active will help seniors stay healthy longer.
If you suspect that the care facility or caregiver responsible for the nutritional needs of your senior has failed to meet those needs through neglect or simple negligence, do not hesitate to take action. Talk to a Long Beach elder neglect attorney at Siegel Law at (562) 645-4145. We can give you advice on what to do next.
- Nutrition for Older Persons - World Health Organization
- Malnutrition and Chronic Diseases - National Council on Aging