As a younger or even middle-aged adult, many of us may not really think about the food we eat or liquids we may choose to consume. Some of this may change, however, as we get older and certain life changes occur.
As we age, we may develop acid reflux or some other medical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, or pancreatitis, which dictate our food choices. Unfortunately, with the onset of dementia and generally forgetfulness seniors may forget what they should and should not eat. At these times, eating alone can be dangerous, and even fatal, for seniors.
Avoiding Healthy Foods
Some elderly loved ones may suffer from diabetes, pancreatitis, cancer, or another type of critical malady that may not only affect their appetite, but also determine what kinds of foods they may or may not be able to consume anymore. Some medications cause stomach discomfort if they aren’t taken with food, so elderly patients may be less likely to eat if their medicines make them feel sick.
Seniors who need to take different types of medications at different times of day may experience stomach troubles because of these medicines. Encouraging these seniors to eat is important so that they get key nutrients to help their bodies absorb the medication properly.
When an elderly person is alone, they are more likely to avoid eating foods that they dislike and just eat foods they like, regardless of nutrition. This could result in malnutrition,
Not Staying Hydrated Enough
Staying hydrated is crucial for all bodily systems to function efficiently. Reaching out for a glass of water only when you’re thirsty is not enough but seniors often forget these basics. This can result in various problems.
The only way to ensure that a senior is drinking enough water throughout the day is by monitoring what they drink. Any non-alcoholic beverage is okay, as long as they are staying hydrated.
Not only does dementia rob our loved ones of their precious memories, it also deteriorates their sense of taste, and smell. Even dementia patients who are physically quite active may not remember to eat enough, or they may forget to eat altogether when they’re alone. With their reduced sense of taste and smell, they may not realize if food they are eating has gone bad, which is another huge risk.
Skipping several meals can be dangerous as it means they are not getting the nutrition they need. Eating food that has gone bad is just as dangerous. In both cases, a senior who lives alone may not realize that what they are doing is detrimental to their health. They need someone to make sure that they are eating their meals regularly and that their food is fresh and healthy.
Malnutrition is dangerous for anyone, but is especially detrimental to the elderly. If you notice that a loved one is not eating right, one option is to consider moving them to an assisted living facility. These facilities have qualified staff who monitor the health of their residents regularly and make sure that they get the nutrition they need.