How to Help Your Aging Parent Avoid Malnutrition

Rohan Mathew

Updated on:

Among the many concerns surrounding your aging parent as they get older, malnutrition is one that should be on your radar at all times. It is no secret that one of the keys to avoiding issues as one ages physically and mentally is ensuring that the body is receiving the right degree of nutrition on a daily basis.

Everything from bone density and strength to the ability of the body to fight off infection can be linked to proper nutrition. Therefore, if your parent isn’t getting the right balance of protein, carbohydrates, and vitamins on a daily basis, they could be setting themselves up for the development of more serious physical and mental conditions in the future.

If you have noticed that your parent hasn’t been getting the nutrition that they need, you should waste no time in seeking to intervene and correct the situation. Here are a few ways in which you might help your aging parent to avoid malnutrition and the negative consequences of not giving the body what it needs to function properly for the long term.

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Talk to Their Physician

The very first step that you should take when you notice any indications that your parent isn’t getting adequate nutrition is to speak with their doctor. There might very well be an underlying condition at play that could be affecting their ability or desire to eat.

For instance, many seniors begin to suffer from a condition known as dysphagia. Dysphagia is the term given to the inability to swallow food or drink properly. It can range in severity from the complete inability to swallow to discomfort when consuming foods of a certain consistency. Either way, it can be enough to discourage your parent from eating certain foods that are part of a healthy diet.

If there is an underlying issue that is causing difficulty when eating, you should seek to address it right away. For dysphagia, it might simply be a matter of finding the right consistency of food that is comfortable for your parent to consume and swallow. Products like Simply Holahan can be a great help in this regard.

On the other hand, if there are mental health or other issues involved in your parent not consuming the right level of nutrition, you might need to look into other options in regard to how they approach mealtime. 

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Keep Things Positive

If malnutrition is becoming an issue for your parent, there is more than likely some sort of physical or mental issue at play. This means that their perception and overall approach to food might have altered for the worse, resulting in negative associations with meals.

When this is the case, it is important for you and other family members and friends to step in and try to instill a renewed sense of positivity surrounding meals and eating. By eating together more often, emphasizing the many benefits of good nutrition, and being more upbeat about food overall, you can help your parent to overcome the negativity that has developed for them regarding food.