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Maintaining Proper Nutrition is Essential to Senior Health

Posted by Deb Spinelli on 7/28/2015
Proper nutrition is essential at all life stages. As a person ages however, he or she may experience decreased appetite. Obviously, this can lead to decreased food intake. This, in turn, can lead to health threatening nutrient deficiencies. As we age, our bodies no longer process essential nutrients as effectively as they did when we were younger, which makes proper nutrition particularly important for the elderly.

Sadly, malnutrition often goes undiagnosed in the elderly. Some signs to watch for include decreased food intake, decreased body mass index, vitamin deficiencies, and excess weight loss. The latter is sometimes mistaken for the decrease in body mass that naturally occurs with age, so it is particularly important that clinicians attempt to distinguish one from the other.

However, poor nutrition has effects that go beyond weight loss. Studies estimate that anywhere between 20 and 65 percent of elderly hospital patients show signs of nutrient deficiency. In general, approximately 15 percent of the elderly are deficient in protein and other essential nutrients, while 30 to 60 percent of seniors living in long-term care facilities suffer from malnutrition.

These alarming statistics suggests that more needs to be done to ensure that the elderly receive consistent proper nutrition. If left untreated, electrolyte imbalances can prove fatal and long-term malnourishment inhibits the body's ability to fight off infection and heal from routine illnesses.

Of course, what can be done if an older person simply does not feel like eating? Certain nutritional supplements can help seniors to maintain a healthy weight and avoid malnutrition. Ensure and Boost supplements are especially popular as they offer a simple (and tasty) way to gain or maintain weight.

These nutritional shakes are ideal for those who are temporarily unable to eat solid food or even for those who need a little extra nutrition. The Medical Maven carries tasty Vanilla, Chocolate, Strawberry and even Butter Pecan flavored protein shakes that are packed with vitamins and minerals. These shakes are a great option for the underweight or nutritionally comprised elderly or for anyone who needs to put on a few pounds following surgery or illness.

The Medical Maven also carries Ensure Pudding in two flavors, Vanilla and Chocolate. Like the nutritional supplement shakes, Ensure pudding is a good source of vitamins and minerals. It is ideal for anyone who is on a volume-or fluid-restricted diet.

Statement: Maintaining proper nutrition in the elderly is essential to avoid malnourishment and nutrient deficiencies.

Posted in: Elderly Care, Nutrition