They say the three most important things we need to sustain life are food, water and shelter. And its easy to assume we have all three when we’re sitting in our favorite chairs with a kitchen filled with food a few steps away.
Yet more than ever, we’re finding people are at risk because they aren’t receiving the proper nutrition from the foods they eat. Studies show that up to 10 percent of the elderly currently living in their own homes are malnourished in some manner. But the odds don’t improve when they move to facilities. In fact, malnourishment can jump as high as 60 percent when the elderly move from hospitals into long term care facilities.
Why? As we age, our bodies change. Therefore our bodies don’t use food as an energy source in quite the same manner as it did when we were young and active. We might not feel as hungry, and therefore skip meals and reduce our consumption of foods altogether. Our tastes may change, and we might become pickier with what we choose. And if the foods we like aren’t available in the hospital or in care facilities, we’ll simply choose not to eat.
Eating a balanced diet can solve an array of problems that also come with the aging process. If you don’t eat and drink properly, dehydration can easily set in, taking away energy and functionality. Poor nutrition and dehydration can magnify medication side effects. And when weakness and the the loss of appetite sets in from these side effects, a downward spiral takes place that leads to weight loss. Which of course can all aggravate chronic diseases that may already be a part of your loved one’s life. [Read more…]