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How harmful is malnutrition to elderly individuals?

On Behalf of | Sep 22, 2023 | Nursing Home Neglect |

Malnutrition and dehydration are common indicators of abuse and neglect in nursing homes. Malnutrition in nursing homes happens when a resident does not receive sufficient nutrients or receives more nutrients than necessary. It interferes with the body’s natural ability to absorb nutrients and puts them at risk for chronic illnesses due to a weakened immune system.

Malnourished elderly individuals develop dental issues, cognitive impairments and other serious physical health concerns. Aside from the increased risk of infections and hospitalization, the most severe consequence of malnutrition is death.

What are the signs of malnutrition?

Nursing homes cater to multiple elderly residents, which can diminish the quality of care they can provide to each resident. Try to recognize the signs of malnutrition so you can address them before your loved one’s condition worsens. Here are some signs:

  • Rapid or unplanned weight loss
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Listlessness
  • Excessive weakness or tiredness
  • Swelling
  • Dental problems and deterioration
  • Eye problems
  • Debilitating muscles
  • Yellowing skin
  • White fingernails

Malnutrition has devastating effects on the human body, and elderly individuals are more vulnerable because of their age. They may not recognize the signs of thirst and hunger as readily. They often depend on the nursing staff for personal care and safety. However, nursing homes can sometimes lack individualized care. As such, nursing home staff might not give your loved one the attention they deserve and need.

Address malnutrition before it is too late

Prolonged malnutrition can result in organ failure, heart attack and stroke. You should recognize the signs immediately to see how you can help your loved one and address the symptoms. You may need to move them to a better long-term care facility.

The nursing home is legally obligated to give its residents a safe and healthy environment free from abuse and neglect. If you believe the nursing home is not providing your loved one adequate care, you should hold them accountable for the pain and suffering of your loved one.