Malnutrition And Aging

Malnutrition And Aging

Nursing Home Elderly Care

Maintaining proper nutritional levels is often a struggle for elders. Malnutrition is common in nursing homes, with 5 to 18 percent of all nursing home residents suffering some type of malnutrition, according to a recent study. For many nursing home residents, the 800-1,000 calories per day they usually consume are not enough to keep them properly nourished. On the whole, elderly Americans receive less than two-thirds of the recommended daily allowance for multiple nutrients. It's important for the elderly to maintain proper levels of nourishment in order to help them cope with the effects of illness, medications and stress.

Causes of Malnutrition

One of the main causes of malnutrition is depression. If your loved one is experiencing unexplained weight loss, then he or she should have an exam to check for signs of depression. A recent study found that nearly 70 percent of malnourished nursing home residents returned to their normal weight after receiving treatment for depression. Prescription and over-the-counter medications sometimes can be blamed for a resident's lack of appetite. Consult their physician if your loved one is experiencing a lack of appetite while taking any of the following medications.

Commonly Used Drugs That Can Cause Malnutrition Due to Decreased Appetite

* digoxin * theophylline * prozac * antacids * flagyl * dyazide * NAID's * aldactone * levodopa * haldol * aspirin * bumex * capoten * digitoxin * iron supplements

Symptoms of Malnutrition

Every person is different, and there are no exact scales for determining how much or how little an individual should weigh. However, there are some basic guidelines that you should consider if you suspect your loved one is showing symptoms of malnutrition. It is important to discuss your loved one's weight and nourishment with their doctor, especially if your loved one's weight falls outside these parameters:

Guidelines for Determining Malnutrition

Frame Size Medium Men: Allow 100 lbs. for the first 5 feet in height / Add 5 lbs. for each additional inch in height Women: Allow 106 lbs. for the first 5 feet in height / Add 6lbs. for each additional inch in height Frame Size Small Men: Subtract 10% from medium frame calculations Women: Subtract 10% from medium frame calculations Frame Size Large Men: Add 10% to medium frame calculations Women: Add 10% to medium frame calculations

How Many Calories are Enough to Prevent Malnutrition?

A registered dietician can calculate required calories needed per day to prevent malnutrition in a nursing home resident based on formulas that account for stressors such as infections, decubitus ulcers, or other existing medical conditions. Registered Dieticians can give you invaluable suggestions in terms of how to mechanically alter food in order to encourage your loved one to eat the foods necessary to maintaining good health. One way to help improve your loved one's food intake, and help prevent malnutrition, is to add concentrated calories to their existing meals.

POWER UP These Foods to Prevent Malnutrition

Oatmeal: Add: Brown sugar, butter, applesauce, prune juice, bran, non-fat dry milk or an Ensure type supplement. Soups: Add: High protein milk, or evaporated milk. Cookies & Cakes: Add: Dried fruits, shredded carrots, bran flakes, oat bran, nut butters, ground nuts. Mashed Potatoes: Add: High protein milk, grated cheese, non-fat dry milk, butter, sour cream. Yams, Sweet Potatoes: Add: Butter, cinnamon, honey, maple syrup. Orange Juice: Add: Ice cream, high protein milk, cream. Chocolate Milk: Add: Mashed bananas, chocolate ice cream.

Commitment to the Health of Elderly Nursing Home Residents

Nursing home lawyer Jeffrey H. Rasansky is committed to improving the health and well being of nursing home residents. While Malnutrition occurs in elderly nursing home residents, the nursing home is responsible for preventing malnutrition. If you feel your loved one's malnutrition occurred because of the neglect and negligence of, or the abandonment by the nursing home staff,contact an experienced nursing home lawyer at the Law Offices of Jeff Rasansky. We can help. Jeff Rasansky is licensed to practice before all state courts in Texas, the United States District Courts in the Northern and Eastern Districts of Texas and the Fifth United States Circuit Court of Appeals.


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