Many individuals in Kentucky and elsewhere grow up to be caretakers for their parents. It is common for parents to experience physical or mental decline in their elderly years and to need assistance in their daily activities. Of course, not everyone can step into the caretaker role, and the assistance of a nursing home facility may be needed.
You may have struggled with the idea of placing your parent into a nursing home, and you may even have felt a little guilty. However, you knew that you could not provide the care he or she needs every day, and you hoped that the staff at the facility would focus on your parent’s care and well-being. Still, it is important to watch out for possible signs of neglect, including symptoms of malnutrition.
Malnutrition in the elderly
Unfortunately, elderly individuals can become malnourished for various reasons. If they have dementia, they may forget to eat. If they have physical disabilities, they may have trouble getting food or feeding themselves. If they feel sick, they may simply not eat. If they feel lonely, they may have a lack of appetite. While these issues may affect your parent, the nursing home staff should take steps to ensure that he or she gets the nourishment needed to remain healthy. To do so, staff members should monitor the following details:
- Tracking medications and possible side effects
- Monitoring your parent’s weight and making note of any changes
- Helping your parent get physical activity to encourage his or her appetite
- Providing your parent with nutritious food
- Helping your parent eat if needed
You can also carry out similar actions if you suspect that your parent may not be getting enough to eat. If you notice any changes that are concerning or have concerns about your parent getting help during meal times, you can bring those concerns up with the staff.
Though malnutrition can cause obvious harm, like significant weight loss, it can also lead to issues like a weaker immune system, a higher risk of hospitalization, muscle weakness, increased risk of broken bones, slower healing time for wounds and more. Any of these issues could quickly put your elderly parent at serious risk.
If you believe that the nursing home staff is neglecting your parent and contributing to his or her becoming malnourished, you may have reason to take legal action. Nursing home neglect is a serious issue, and you have the right to seek justice and compensation on behalf of your parent.