It may not dawn on family caregivers that malnutrition in elderly loved ones is often connected to their ability to chew and swallow. When they are missing some or all of their natural teeth, seniors are limited to what they can eat, often foregoing healthy and natural food for soft, processed stuff with few nutrients. Dentures can replace the natural teeth that have been lost, either in full or partially.
Dentures are certainly an important part of keeping an elderly loved one looking natural and on the right track to normal chewing and eating when their own natural teeth have to be removed. Denture wearers are at a greater risk for malnutrition for several different reasons, so family caregivers and elder home care assistants need to work hard to ensure the elderly in their care don’t suffer health issues.
Even though dentures are often the key for seniors to get back to enjoying their favorite foods again, there are often problems associated with dentures. Seniors may need some time to get used to their dentures and therefore avoid chewing food that is too tough or stringy. If the dentures don’t fit well or are not adhered to the mouth properly, they can actually cause the elderly person pain when they eat. Still other seniors are worried about breaking or otherwise damaging their dentures and stick to soft food while avoiding healthier options.
There’s no doubt that eliminating nutritious food from an elderly person’s diet is going to result in inadequate nutrition. It’s difficult enough to get seniors to eat their right amount of food because their appetites diminish with age, medications can trigger a loss of appetite and taste buds become less sensitive. Adding in any difficulties with dentures can really interfere with their health and wellness when it comes to eating a balanced diet. It’s no wonder that elderly loved ones that wear dentures are more likely to suffer from malnutrition.
To help aging loved ones avoid malnutrition and get the most out of their dentures, there are several things that family caregivers can do. It’s very important for seniors to get regular dental checkups because this can provide them with a professional assessment of how well their dentures are fitting. Dentists can also make adjustments to the dentures so they cause little interference when it comes to chewing. Family caregivers can also help seniors avoid malnutrition by preparing nutrient rich foods that are healthy and delicious.
During food prep, family members and elder home care aides can make sure that meat is tender and that ingredients are bite sized. They should avoid sticky or overly hard food like nuts and raw vegetables. Elderly loved ones should be encouraged to chew on both sides of their mouth to make sure that the dentures don’t become dislodged from doing all the work on one side. If the denture adhesive seems to be a problem while eating, the dentist can recommend some alternative brands to get the right fit.
Aging loved ones depend on family caregivers and elder home care aides for so much when it comes to health and wellness. Many seniors won’t even complain about problems with their dentures because they don’t want to make a fuss. However, failure to address dentures and how they may be interfering with nutritional intake can lead to a lot of health problems that can be easily avoided.
For Home Care Services in Millington TN, please contact the caring staff at Personal Care Services MidSouth today!