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How can you tell if a loved one is malnourished or dehydrated?

Most in Kew Gardens make the difficult decision to entrust the care of their loved ones to nursing homes only after reaching the point of believing that their needs have become too complicated. If you have an aging or ill parent, spouse, child or friend that needs constant care, the task of administering medications or assisting with physical therapy may seem daunting. Hopefully, you can trust the staff at your loved one’s facility to successfully perform those activities. Yet one thing you may not worry about is that his or her basic needs are seen to, such as eating and drinking. However, statistics suggest that even those expectations are not always met.

Information shared by the Commonwealth Fund shows that of the 1.6 million people living in nursing homes in the U.S., at least a third are believed to suffering from malnourishment or dehydration. One reason that caregivers at such facilities may give as to why your loved one may be showing signs of such conditions is because he or she does not want to eat, or that he or she becomes uncooperative or combative during meals. While this may be true in some cases, it does not absolve that staff at his or her facility of the responsibility of making sure that his or her nutritional needs are addressed.

How can you know of a family member or friend living in a nursing home is malnourished? Look for the following signs:

  •          Unexplained weight loss
  •          Constant fatigue
  •          Dry skin
  •          A bloated abdomen
  •          Swollen, bleeding gums and/or tooth decay
  •          Confusion and memory loss

Similarly, a chronic absence of appetite, dry mouth, vertigo or dark-colored urine can be signs that he or she is not drinking enough. If you notice any of these things, you should report your concerns immediately

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