Many older adults who live alone face a problem known as food insecurity. Food insecurity is defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) as “a lack of consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy lifestyle.” It can sometimes be hard to tell if your aging relative is suffering from food insecurity, especially if you don’t live close by, but for many older adults, it is a problem that is all too real.
What Causes Food Insecurity?
For older adults, food insecurity has a couple of possible causes:
-Money: After retirement, seniors may be on a fixed income that is lower than what they once earned. They may struggle to purchase healthy food.
-Transportation: Older adults may not have easy access to grocery stores because they no longer drive.
-Disability: Disabilities, both physical and cognitive, can make it hard for seniors to prepare balanced meals for themselves.
How Can You Tell If a Senior Isn’t Eating Well?
It may be hard to tell that your senior family member isn’t eating enough or that their diet isn’t balanced. Some clues that can tell you about their nutritional status are:
-Eating Habits: Find out as much as possible about the older adult’s eating habits. If possible, eat with them at home. Find out if they are able to shop for food and how they get to the store. Look in the cupboards to see if there is enough food on a regular basis.
-Weight Loss: Pay attention to whether the older adult is losing weight. Watch for changes in the way their clothes fit.
-Physical Symptoms: Improper nutrition can cause physical ailments like weakness, wounds that don’t heal well, and dental problems.
Ultimately, if the senior’s nutrition does not improve, it could lead to serious complications, like:
- Weakened immune system.
- Weak muscles.
- Decreased bone mass.
- Higher risk of being hospitalized.
- Increased risk of death.
Can Elder Care Help with Food Insecurity?
Depending on the cause of the problem, elder care can assist seniors who suffer from food insecurity. First, elder care providers can help seniors to plan healthy meals and make a grocery list. Elder care providers can drive older adults to the store and help them to shop, reading the tiny print on food labels and carrying heavy bags. Elder care providers can also cook food and offer companionship during meals. If your aging relative needs help to eat, a home care provider can assist with that, too. Elder care providers can even clean up the kitchen afterward.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering Homecare in Glenolden, PA, please contact the friendly staff at Suma Home Care. Call today: (484) 206-4544
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