Malnutrition and Elders: Symptoms and Prevention

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Elderly Care in South Riding VA

Elderly Care in South Riding VAThe foods we eat can either help keep our bodies nourished and healthy or can cause us to gain weight and feel sluggish. This is especially true for older adults. Since they are more prone to getting ill or developing a chronic medical condition, they should be eating a well-balanced, nutrient-rich diet.

The only problem is that many older adults who live alone do not want to bother with preparing a meal for just themselves, causing them to reach for pre-packaged snacks and meals that are high in saturated fat and sodium. Knowing how to prevent malnutrition from happening to your loved one is important, but so is knowing what symptoms could indicate the elder has this condition.


  • Unhealthy eating habits. If you or another family member is able to do so, check their refrigerator and cupboards to find out what kinds of food they are purchasing. Also, try to eat a meal with them outside of the regular holiday meals to find out how well they eat on a daily basis.
  • Weight loss. Rapid weight loss is a strong sign that the senior is not eating a well-balanced meal. One way to find out if they are losing weight is if their clothes see much looser on them.
  • Know the side effects of their medications. Some medications may cause the elder to lose their appetite or lose weight. Talk to their pharmacist or do for if you think their medication could be behind their weight loss or lack of appetite.
  • Watch for other noticeable health issues. Malnutrition can cause the elder’s bruises, infections, or other wounds to heal much more slowly.


  • Have more family meals. Eating more meals together could be the motivation your loved one needs to eat healthier. If your schedule does not allow for you to eat with them as often as you would like, an elderly care provider can offer your loved one companionship and a person to eat their meals with.
  • Encourage more exercise. Exercising can actually give your loved one a hearty appetite, making them more willing to eat a proper diet.
  • Help with the grocery shopping. If your loved one is not buying healthy foods during their grocery shopping trip, offer to do it for them. Their doctor or a dietitian can give you. Some. Ideas as to what foods they should be eating.

Malnutrition can cause the elder to suffer from serious health complications if it goes unnoticed. Pay close attention to any red flags you notice, as well as following these prevention tips in order to encourage them to eat healthily and regularly.


If you or an aging loved one are considering elderly care in South Riding, VA please contact the caring staff at Assisting Hands today. (703) 982-0050.