If you are your elder’s caregiver, you probably know exactly what they eat on a daily basis and how much. If your loved one has someone else caring for them, you may feel like you’re in the dark when it comes to knowing if they’re eating right. Even if you prepare all their meals and take note of the quantity, you may still have questions about their nutritional health. Here are 3 common signs that your older loved one is not getting proper nutrition.
Yes, older people do get tired more easily than younger generations, but extreme exhaustion can be a red flag when it comes to elder nutrition. If your loved one suffers from chronic fatigue, it’s best to schedule a visit with their doctor. Your senior may not be eating enough iron, which can cause anemia if left untreated. Their doctor can order a blood test to rule out other serious health problems and to help diagnose the culprit.
If iron is to blame, an iron supplement may be suggested. You can prevent iron related issues by making sure they eat iron rich foods like chicken, beef, turkey, fish, spinach, beans, or lentils on a regular basis.
Brittle Nails and Hair Breakage
Both your hair and your nails are made from protein. If you notice that your senior has brittle nails and/or lots of hair breakage, they may not be getting enough protein in their diet. Weak nails can also be a sign that their diet is lacking in important vitamins and minerals. You need to make sure that they are eating an assortment of different colored fruits and veggies, ideally at least one at each meal, and that they are eating foods that are high in protein.
While meats have iron in them, they are also a form of protein. As listed above on the iron rich food list, chicken, beef, turkey, fish, beans, and lentils are great choices. Peanut butter, nuts, dairy, and eggs are also great protein sources.
Dry Mouth and Chapped Lips
If your elder complains of their mouth being dry, it could be due to a heater taking the moisture out of the air, medication they are taking, being dehydrated, or a vitamin deficiency. One example of a vitamin that causes this type of issue is B2, which is famous for causing cracked lips, especially in the corners of the mouth.
Fruits and vegetables can make a huge difference in the health of anyone, especially those that are older. Help health their mouth by again making sure they eat an assortment of fruits and veggies, especially B2 rich green veggies. Almonds and diary can also help those that suffer from these two issues.
If You Have Concerns
If you have concerns about your elder’s health or suspect they aren’t eating right, speak with their doctor. Start keeping a list of what they eat and how much, and take it with you to their appointment. Your doctor can help determine the cause of any issues that they may be having, and let you know which areas of their diet that may need improvement.
About the Author:
Deborah Shure is the owner and founder of NannyTax, the premier nanny payroll service in Canada. With over 25 years of combined financial experience, Deborah and her team are the most trusted source of nanny payroll information. When she isn’t busy providing “nanny tax frustration relief”, Deborah is spending time with her 3 kids doing all the things that supermoms do!