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by Shelly Slaczka
As a caregiver, it is important to pay attention to the nutrition of your loved one. Malnutrition is a serious senior health issue. Look for the warning signs and help your loved one avoid poor nutrition.
A diet lacking in nutrients and/or too little food is only partly to blame for malnutrition. It is often caused by a combination of physical, social and psychological issues. Issues with dementia or dental can lead to decrease in appetite or trouble eating. Chronic illness or use of certain medications may lead to difficulty swallowing or absorbing nutrients, a recent hospitalization, or a diminished sense of taste or smell. Dietary restrictions can help manage certain medical conditions, but might also contribute to inadequate eating. Limited income might make it hard for your loved one to afford groceries. Depression causes a loss of appetite.
Look for malnutrition. Uncovering problems with malnutrition at the early stages can help prevent complications later. Observe your loved one's eating habits. Watch for signs of weight loss, such as changes in how clothes fit. Your loved one may also be experiencing poor wound healing, easy bruising and dental difficulties.
Once you have determined that your loved one is experiencing a problem with malnutrition, it is time to get help. Talk with your loved one's doctors. Medication might need to be changed. Work with a dentist to treat oral pain or chewing problems. Consider working with a registered dietitian. Encourage your loved one to eat foods packed with nutrients. Experiment with seasonings and recipes. Plan between-meal snacks. Make meals a social event by encouraging your loved one to join programs or invite him/her out for an occasional meal. Consider outside help such as community services.
Proper nutrition will help promote good health, independence and increase longevity.
Did you know there is a radio show that can help you?
Caring Connections with your host Nicole Bruno on
97.9 WCHL. Reaches mainly the Chapel Hill, Durham and Chatham County markets. Listen in at 10:00 am and 6:00 pm Saturdays and Sundays. Or you may find the pod casts of past shows by clicking here.
If you have a caregiving question that you would love to have answered on air or if you have a topic you think we should cover please email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Do You Know Who I Am?
7.0 CEU Dementia Training
"Do You Know Who I Am?" is an Alzheimer's Disease training program for both family and professional caregivers. It is a participatory, interactive, and innovative approach to learning how to more effectively work with individuals with dementia, especially Alzheimer's. Learn more, find out training dates or to register, click here.
Transitions GuidingLights Caregiver Training Institute
The Transitions GuidingLights Caregiver Training Institute now offers the DHSR approved Nursing Assistant 1 (NA1) program. We also have scholarships available to Raleigh residents who qualify. For more information about this robust and interactive program, please click here.
Information & Referral
Transitions GuidingLights is pleased to offer information and referrals to caregivers seeking resources for a loved one. Caregivers may drop in or call during regular business hours to receive personally tailored referrals to meet their specific care needs. Transitions GuidingLights provides referral services FREE of charge to family caregivers. Call (919) 371-2062 for help TODAY or
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Transitions GuidingLights offers CPR, AED, and First Aid training. This is a two year American Heart Association certification. Contact us if you would like to be certified.
The Awakening Program is a comprehensive life management program designed for individuals afflicted with dementia, especially Alzheimer's and their caregivers.
Caring Matters is a 14 video series designed to educate you about the various aspects of caregiving. Click Here For Videos
Caring Connections is a weekly radio show for caregivers about caregiving. This show has entered its third year of production and can be heard locally on WCHL. All shows are also available via podcast by clicking
The Transitions GuidingLights lending library houses hundreds of books to aid caregivers in their journey as well as books that will help you to prepare to care. For your convenience we also have a complete listing of our titles online which can be found
Transitions GuidingLights has a skills lab available. Are you unsure of how to provide assistance with activities of daily living for a loved one? If so, contact us and we would be glad to set up an appointment with one of our nurses who will work with you to practice the skills you need to become a more confident caregiver. Contact us by clicking