Are Your Senior Family Members Getting Enough to Eat?

January 20th, 2012

There are several common aspects of aging, such as chewing issues, digestive problems, loneliness, depression, and certain medications, that can cause seniors to decrease food intake, making it difficult for them to get the nutrition they need. Because family members can’t be there to monitor all meals and snacks, it’s often difficult to know if dietary needs are being met. There are, however, a few physical things that family members can monitor that may indicate a lack of proper nutrition.

  1. Has the senior complained of loss of appetite, digestive problems, or chewing or swallowing difficulties? Has there been decreased food intake over the past 3 months due to these complaints?
  2. Has the senior experienced weight loss during the last 3 months? Weight loss, particularly in those who are not active, can be an indication that the person is not eating properly.
  3. Does the senior have mobility issues? Being bedbound or unable to go outside can result in nutritional challenges.
  4. Has the senior suffered psychological stress or acute disease in the past 3 months?
  5. What is the senior’s body mass index (BMI)? A BMI of 18.5 or less may be a sign that the person is not eating enough, while a BMI of 30 or more can indicate obesity.

For information on how Visiting Angels of the San Francisco Bay area can assist you or your loved ones with nutritious meal preparation and monitoring, contact us in Alameda County at (510) 284-0000 or in Santa Clara County at (408) 735-0977.