Malnutrition in the elderly : what are the risks and what are the stakes ?

The protection of health care for seniors is going through a good nutrition. In the elderly population is more fragile – the risks of mortality and chronic diseases are aggravated by malnutrition. Zoom in on our advice to meet the energy needs of seniors through nutritional intake appropriate.

Malnutrition des seniors

Malnutrition : what are the risks ?

The food and nutrition of seniors is a serious topic. Weakening the immune system, malnutrition leads to serious consequences. The lack of energy with the addition of nutrient deficiency – protein, or other – accentuate the weakness of the senior, resulting in a loss of muscle strength, while increasing the risks of infections, diseases or complications. Senior citizens are less armed against the diseases and can be more difficult to heal. Finally, some complications due to malnutrition can go until death. Heart failure, renal or respiratory are, unfortunately, the everyday reality of malnutrition.

How to identify malnutrition ?

Malnutrition is a condition that affects quite commonly senior citizens, hence the importance to identify the first signs.

The first symptoms to watch out for are : weight loss, chronic fatigue, impaired social relationships, a lack of interest in its environment, a loss of appetite, motor skills impaired with falls becoming more frequent.

These are a few signs that can easily be identified by relatives. Once alarmed, they will then take the necessary steps to help the senior in difficulty.

For those who are more isolated, a screening once a year by a health professional is essential. The diagnosis is based mainly on two factors :
– weight loss – if weight loss of at least 5% in one month or at least 10% in six months occurs, then one speaks of undernutrition. Beyond that, it will be to undernutrition, severe ;
– the body mass index (BMI). It is a simple calculation : the weight in kilograms is divided by height in cm squared. If the result is less than 18, the verdict is without call : the senior suffers from undernutrition.

How can you prevent malnutrition ?

Preventing malnutrition requires to respect a few basic rules for a balanced diet and especially adapted to the nutritional needs of seniors :
– the power of the seniors should be – on a daily basis, punctuated by 3 meals and a snack.
– intakes of protein and calcium must be an integral part of the meal ;
– the amount of fluid ingested daily should be of 1.5 liter minimum ;
– organization of meals for the elderly needs to be built around the pleasure of eating and food preferences ;
– dinner time should be delayed to minimize the period of fasting between sunset and breakfast.

How to treat malnutrition ?

Loved ones often find themselves helpless in the situation where a senior refuses to eat. Some keys to allow you to remedy this :
– daily monitoring of the weight ;
– enrich the meals of calories and proteins, gracing the soup with milk powder or egg yolks, for example ;
– consult a specialist who can prescribe dietary supplements nutrition, if necessary ;
split the meals into several small meals.
But when faced with a situation that persists, supported by a specialized institution may sometimes be necessary.

Malnutrition is an evil more widespread in our society, especially among the seniors. These are a few tips and clarifications to help you understand, then diagnose but also to prevent and especially to treat it.

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