It’s easy to undervalue the importance of nutrition on a day-to-day basis. You rely on your body to tough it out when you skip breakfast, work through lunch, or make dinner a few slices of old pizza. The older you get, the more you feel the effects of poor nutrition.
Consistent, nutritious meals are a cornerstone of elder care. Without proper, and routine, nutrition, a person lacks the vitamins and minerals to heal and keep their immune system robust. That’s why it’s so important to evaluate the quality of food offer by care facilities.
Meals are also a social event. They are held in larger areas and give residents a chance to interact outside of their rooms. However, this combination of pressures can also lead to meal skipping. On top of that, the need to feed a large group of people at a set time leads to lower quality foods and sometimes misses key nutritional differences needed by some residents.
Nutritional Needs in Elder Care
Poor nutrition and hydration create cascading effects on your health. Not surprisingly, these effects mirror those of aging in general.
It starts with a lowered ability to recover from injury, especially injuries related to the skin such as closing cuts or cleaning up bruises. From there, it leads to depression, and inability to eat without discomfort, and finally starts to impair cognitive functions.
When a care facility fails to take into account the individual nutritional needs of residence, they create a pathway to nursing home negligence.
Group Dining Issues
One of the more important rules one learns trying to fight for their health is the foods that work for one don’t’ necessarily work for you. The social pressures of eating among other residents, which includes being seated with people you might not want to deal with or are forced to eat foods you don’t enjoy, provides incentives to skip meals.
It doesn’t take much for a few missed meals to lead to complications that further remove one from group dining. If it takes longer to eat, or health declines, residents are even more likely to avoid the dining area.
It’s paramount that care facilities provide robust options for in-room dining and do everything they can to encourage and accommodate residents in the dining area.
Providing alternative foods with equivalent nutritional values is also important for dealing with food avoidance and allergies. When a facility adopts a ‘you’ll eat what your given’ mentality, it drives residence to avoid meals and constitutes a form of negligence.
Individual Diet Concerns
One place that nursing homes frequently turn to as a way of smoothing out nutritional concerns is with supplements and vitamins. These can provide some help when a person I s lacking a particular mineral or vitamin. However, research shows that issues of absorption mean the increase that a person sees from a supplement is lower than the label suggests.
The best way to get complete nutrition is through foods containing the necessary minerals.
Providing care means looking after all of the issues that come up in treating an aging populace. If a facility for elder care can’t get their nutritional offerings together, what does that say about the rest of their care?
Combating elder abuse and fighting nursing home negligence is always a difficult task. If you suspect a problem with the care of your loved ones, contact us for more information on how to proceed. We’re always here to help.