Common causes of malnutrition in nursing homes

The food and drink you consume have a direct correlation to your health, wellbeing and the quality of your life. However, as people age, their feeding habits and nutritional requirements change. It is important that family members know their loved ones’ dietary needs — especially when they move into nursing homes.

Ensuring that nursing home residents have a nutritious and well-balanced diet is a critical part of care home service. Unfortunately, malnutrition tends to be all too common among elderly seniors in nursing homes. Basically, this occurs when the body does not receive proper nourishment and nutrients. And while malnutrition can be attributed to physical and mental problems, it can also be linked to negligence in the nursing home. 

Common problems associated with malnutrition in nursing homes

With age, it is not unusual for people to suffer from medical complications that can make chewing and swallowing or ingesting adequate amounts of food difficult. Certain medical conditions and medications can also impair the body’s ability to absorb certain nutrients. Examples of physical and medical problems that may affect an elderly person’s ability to get adequate nutrition include the following:

  • Dental problems: If an elderly person has a missing tooth or dental pain, they may not be able to eat as much as they should. The result would be malnutrition. Ill-fitting dentures can also affect the elderly person’s ability to eat.
  • Dysphagia: Dysphagia, or difficulty with swallowing, is quite common among the elderly. Individuals suffering from dysphagia often suffer from malnutrition if the condition is not managed.
  • Dementia: Individuals who suffer from dementia can suffer from malnutrition due to simply forgetting to take their meals. In certain cases, dementia can also cause swallowing difficulty.

Malnutrition is a common problem in nursing homes throughout the country. If you suspect your loved one is suffering from malnutrition due to neglect, you should consider acting immediately to ensure the safety of your loved one. By staying proactive, you can significantly reduce the risk of a loved one suffering from malnutrition while in the care of a nursing home.