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Causes of poor Nutrition and Hydration in Elderly Patients

Updated on August 12, 2017

It is important for the caregiver to pay attention while finding out what could the possible reason why the patients are not eating healthy. Some of the common reasons for poor nutrition and hydration in a patient include:

• Biomedical and physiologic Determinants – nutritional vulnerability is associated with frailty, which is a syndrome that increases vulnerability to extreme health outcomes such as, a decline in physiological reserve, acute illness that require hospitalization. Moreover, some medications have serious side effects that a time leads to loss of appetite and nausea. As a result, the patient is likely to take in less food which in turn translates to fewer nutrient intake.

• Economic and Environmental Determinants – According to (USDA), older adults are food insecure, and live people the poverty line, socioeconomic status is a major cause of malnutrition, especially among the older population in the U.S. The study indicates that most elderly person in the U.S. spend on less expensive and less nutritious foods partly due to their economic status. Moreover, food insecurity has been known to cause a lower quality of life, functional impairment, anxiety, and depression, etc.

• Psychosocial Determinants – Include social isolation, loneliness, depression, etc. According to (Luppa et al 212-21), depression is prevalent among the older population. The relationship between depression and malnutrition is multidimensional and complex. Biological anorexia of aging is often observed in depressed adults and causes a sharp decline in nutrient intake. Social isolation and loneliness are common with elders who live alone, lack transportation, have functional impairment, low morale and have limited access to social networks (Coyle and Dugan 1346–63). Moreover, social isolation and loneliness, lead to chronic health conditions, poor self-reported health, cognitive impairments and sleep disorders (Dickens, Richards, Greaves and Campbell 647).

Some of the recommendations that would ensure that elderly patients have access and are eating meals that are nitrous are as follows:

Provide nutritionally rich foods.- Since the elderly population has a poor eating habit, it is imperative for the health care provider to ensure that the food they offer to the patient is full of nutrients as possible,. For instance, they should consider whole meals, unprocessed foods rich in calories and healthy fats. ; Enhance aromas and flavours.- aromas and flavours are known to stimulate appetite, the care should consider food combinations like, yogurt with vanilla. Moreover, the caregiver should consider encouraging eating habit by making eating a social event, where close relatives of the patients would occasionally join in the meals to help the patient with depression and loneliness feeling.


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