Published On: March 24, 2021By

Malnutrition presents a serious concern for seniors with limited access to healthy foods and ingredients. A nutrient-poor diet can result in a variety of medical complications, including death.

Medical providers are often faced with the challenge of treating senior malnutrition to help prevent hospital readmission and to support healthy post-discharge recovery. When a senior patient also experiences cognitive or mobility-related conditions, this concern can multiply.

Senior Malnutrition Contributing Factors

The Mayo Clinic identifies the following contributing factors as causes of malnutrition in seniors:

  • Age-related changes in taste, smell, and appetite
  • Illnesses
  • Impaired eating ability (difficulty swallowing, holding utensils, etc.)
  • Dementia-related behavior and memory problems
  • Medication side-effects impacting appetite and nutrient absorption
  • Diet restrictions
  • Limited income’s effect on affording groceries
  • Reduced social contact, making eating less enjoyable
  • Limited food access, especially for those experiencing difficulties with mobility
  • Depression
  • Struggles with addiction affecting nutrient absorption

Though other factors may also contribute to malnutrition among seniors, like food insecurity, these are some of the most common. Medical providers should ask senior patients about what they eat, how often they eat, and where they shop for their food and look out for any of these concerning circumstances.

To help address many of these barriers to senior food access, doctors should consider

Health Complications in Seniors from Malnutrition

Senior patients experiencing malnutrition are often at risk of developing diet and nutrition-related health complications that can have potentially deadly impacts on the body.

According to the Mayo Clinic, malnutrition in senior patients can result in the following medical complications:

Weakened Immune System

Low-to-no intake of essential nutrients can result in a weakened immune system. This can, in turn, lead to an increased risk of infections.

Poor Wound Healing

Wounds that do not heal properly can result in further infections and other complications. Without a proper nutritional intake, the likelihood of poor wound healing increases.

Muscle Weakness and Decreased Bone Mass

Weakened muscles and decreased bone mass can impact mobility and productivity in seniors. This makes it even more difficult to travel to stores and shop for healthy ingredients. Furthermore, these complications can also lead to increased chances of falls and fractures.

A Higher Risk of Hospitalization

Malnutrition can take its toll on the entire body. This can result in more visits to the hospital and the need for intensive treatment in the case of organ damage.

Increased Risk of Death

Malnutrition’s impact on the entire body can also lead to an increased risk of death. When the body is not functioning at healthy levels, this leaves it more vulnerable to life-threatening medical conditions and episodes.

Senior Meal Delivery: Combating Malnutrition Among Patients

At DeliverLean Care, we are on a mission to partner with medical providers in combating malnutrition among seniors. We believe that delicious, healthy, and easy meals are within reach for aging adults and we strive to make that possible.

Each of our meal plans is co-designed by our team of dieticians and culinary experts and can suit various religious, medical, and lifestyle dietary requirements. All meals are prepared with fresh, whole ingredients in our Florida headquarters and shipped throughout the United States. When it arrives at your patient’s doorstep, they just need to warm their meal up in the microwave and enjoy!

The best part? Their meals can be covered by most insurance providers. Doctors can order meals for their patients as an essential component of their care plans without having to fret over any added financial complexities.

If you are interested in leveraging delicious meal plans to combat or prevent malnutrition for your senior patients, view our meal plans or contact us anytime for more information.
Note: DeliverLean Care is covered by most insurance providers, including Avmed Humana and Care Plus. If you would like more information regarding this, please contact your insurance provider or reach out to us for more information.

Published On: March 24, 2021By