For older adults with chronic conditions, proper nutrition is more than just a good idea; It’s an essential part of managing many health problems like diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, and more.
That’s why the Las Vegas Senior Lifeline is encouraging all older adults and their caregivers to learn the warning signs of malnutrition and connect them with resources to stay healthy.
“Older adults with chronic conditions can become malnourished because they lose their appetite, or it is difficult for them to shop for and prepare healthy food,” said Lisa Popovsky, Director the Las Vegas Senior Lifeline at the Jewish Federation. “It’s important to understand what malnutrition looks like and take steps to get the nourishment our bodies need.”
A recent survey from The Gerontological Society of America confirms the challenges of good nutrition for older adults and their caregivers. In the online survey of over 1000 people conducted by Harris Interactive in July 2015, 83% of patients and caregivers said they think malnutrition is a significant problem for older adults, yet only 28% of caregivers said they understand malnutrition very well. More than 90% of caregivers said they provide care for an older adult who has experienced a chronic health problem.
Popovsky encouraged older adults to alert their health professional if they have any of the warning signs of poor nutrition:
- Eating poorly
- Chewing and swallowing difficulties
- Taking multiple medicines
- Unplanned weight loss
For seniors living with chronic conditions, malnutrition can result in the loss of muscle and other tissue, which can make it harder to recover, increase the risk for infection and falls, decrease strength, and lead to longer hospital stays.
“Proper nutrition is a key factor in helping older adults to remain independent and living in their own homes,” noted Popovsky. “At the Las Vegas Senior Lifeline we provide a variety of nutrition program designed to address the various needs that our clients have. But we can’t do it all and fortunately, there is a growing comprehensive continuum of nutrition services in our community. We have been working very closely with Helping Hands of Vegas Valley, Three Square and other local agencies to streamline the process seniors to move from one agency to another as their needs change.”
The Las Vegas Senior Lifeline is a non-denominational program of the Jewish Federation of Las Vegas. This grant-funded program provides social services to low-income seniors who need assistance to remain living independently in their own homes. Individuals over 60 years old that meet income guidelines may qualify for assistance.
Nutrition related services include: transportation for grocery shopping, congregate meals, Senior Share and Kosher Meals on Wheels. Other services provided include homemaking, transportation medical appointments, and prescription assistance support and supplies.
For more information about the Jewish Federation’s Senior Lifeline Program please contact Lisa Popovsky, Director at 702-933-1191 or Lisa@jewishlasvegas.com