You placed your aging mother or father in a New Jersey nursing home, and you hoped everything would turn out well. During some of your recent visits, you grew concerned about your loved one’s eating habits. Is the nursing home staff responsible?
Mayo Clinic explores factors that contribute to malnutrition. Learn why your mother or father does not have a nutrient-rich diet.
Changes related to age
Older adults do not have the same sense of smell and taste they had in their younger days. They also may not have the same appetite. These age-related changes could make it hard for them to eat the same as they used to.
Impaired ability to eat
Poor dental health and difficulty swallowing or chewing could make it hard for older adults to consume sufficient nutrients. If a nursing home does not make it easy for residents to handle tableware, that may contribute to a lack of proper nutrition.
Illness and swelling related to disease may weaken an older adult’s appetite. Some diseases change how the body absorbs nutrients.
Nursing home residents with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia may forget to eat. The disease and related conditions trigger memory and behavioral issues that could make a person neglect to buy food or adopt irregular eating habits.
Low social interaction
When older adults lack social interaction and eat alone, they may not cook or eat the same as they used to. Isolation may rob them of the joy that comes from eating.
Nursing homes must take steps to ensure all residents eat well and consume enough nutrients. If your loved one’s caregivers bear responsibility for her or his malnutrition, you could have a nursing home abuse case to explore.