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Senior Malnutrition: A Growing Problem?

January 25, 2016

As people get older, they often need better nourishment to stay healthy. A new problem is rising within America’s growing senior populace in senior malnutrition. According to recent reports, senior malnutrition is now affecting one out of every three seniors coming into hospitals for treatment. Because patients who are seniors are already in a debilitated condition when they reach the hospital, treatment centers may find deficiencies making it harder to treat them overall. It’s estimated that senior malnutrition increases treatment costs by 300 percent. With disease related to malnutrition costing over $157 billion a year, senior malnutrition is an area often forgotten as compared to childhood malnutrition and food insecurity.

Even worse, as seniors can become malnourished in a number of ways (such as reduced eating due to a loss of the sense of taste, as well as depression or other emotional issues), seniors are hardest hit with the problems that come with malnutrition when they do have to receive medical treatment. These problems manifest themselves most clearly at the point of treatment: seniors who are malnourished have lower recovery rates and a host of other problems.

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How Senior Living Can Be Part of the Solution

One of the ways that the government attempted to address the issue of senior malnutrition is the Older Americans Act (OAA), which delegates funds to help reduce and solve the problem of senior malnutrition. The Act is regularly updated in attempts to keep up with inflation and other variable changes in food prices.

Another goal of the OAA is to ensure that nutritious meals are provided to seniors in senior living facilities, as well as meals for the homebound. Senior living facilities can make sure that seniors are maintaining a healthy diet and avoiding the relative perils of malnutrition.

Because of the emphasis on preparing healthy meals as well as the effect on emotions that a nurturing, supporting environment can have, senior living centers are leading the charge against the problem of senior malnutrition. Senior living communities make sure that their residents are worry-free when it comes to the nutritional value of what they’re eating, while also providing a safe and pleasant community experience that helps to improve older people’s health as well.

Senior malnutrition has many causes, and experienced senior caregivers can identify, reduce or possibly even eliminate potential health risks in advance. For seniors at risk of being malnourished because they live alone, that can be just what the doctor ordered.

Help the seniors you hold near and dear by encouraging them to check out the senior living communities from Concordia Lutheran Ministries. With many beautiful locations all across Western Pennsylvania and Eastern Ohio, you can be sure that you’ll find the perfect place for the senior in your life to call home.

At Concordia, our caregivers provide residents with the best quality care around to create a warm, welcoming community for seniors to thrive. And with a full staff of dietitians, chefs/cooks and other food service professionals, you can rest assured that your loved one is in good hands when it comes to nutrition. Schedule a tour of a Concordia location near you, and check out all the ways we put our faith in our senior care services.

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