There are many things that can interfere with an older adult’s ability to eat a healthy, balanced diet. Some older adults lack the ability to cook or have a disability that makes cooking dangerous or impossible. Others may be unable to get to a grocery store to purchase healthy ingredients because they do not drive or because a physical disability makes it hard for them to manage the shopping itself. But, if your elderly parent is like many seniors, they aren’t likely to tell you there is a problem. Instead, family caregivers may need to rely on clues to tell them when the older adult isn’t eating well. Below are some signs to look for that may suggest your parent is having difficulty getting enough nutritious food to eat.
Everyone’s cupboards get empty sometimes, so this isn’t automatically a sign of a problem. If your parent shops once a week and you’re consistently visiting at the end of the week, the cupboards may often appear bare to you. However, if you come a few times through the week and notice a persistent lack of food, it’s possible your parent isn’t able to do their own grocery shopping anymore.
An early sign of malnutrition is changes in fingernails. If your parent’s nails are starting to look spoon-shaped, you may want to investigate what they’ve been eating. A spoon-shaped nail is one that curls away from the nail bed, so it looks a little like a spoon. Another nail change to watch for is the development of ridges. These are signs of anemia.
Clothes Don’t Fit Well
Be observant of how your parent’s clothes fit them. If they start to hang on the older adult’s frame or look baggy, they are losing weight. Now, if your parent is overweight and has been trying to slim down, there’s probably nothing to worry about. However, if they were thin already and are getting thinner or if they have not been working toward weight loss, the problem may be a lack of food.
Does your parent seem crabby lately or like they don’t care about much? Mood changes, including apathy and irritability, can be a sign that your parent’s body doesn’t have enough food to create the energy they need.
If your parent is having trouble getting food or making meals, a senior care provider can help them. A senior care provider can assist your parent with planning meals and drive them to the store to shop for ingredients. While at the store, the senior care provider can help by putting things in the cart and carrying heavy grocery bags. Senior care providers can also cook meals and keep your parent company while they eat, so that mealtimes are something they look forward to.
IF YOU OR AN AGING LOVED ONE IS CONSIDERING SENIOR CARE IN KNIGHTDALE, NC, PLEASE CONTACT THE CARING STAFF AT SENIORS HELPING SENIORS TODAY. CALL (919) 761-5346.