How To Help Prevent Failure To Thrive In Older Adults

How To Help Prevent Failure To Thrive In Older Adults

Failure to thrive is multifactorial condition, which often involves weight loss, a decrease in appetite, poor nutritional intake, and significantly reduce activity levels.

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Human beings are social creatures and as such need constant interaction in order to have a healthy lifestyle. People simply feel the need to be in the company of a variety of other people, and when deprived of that company depression sets in quickly. Depression attacks the body in both a mental and physical way; it has been proven that those with depression often have more health problems than those without mental health issues. Depression can also lead a person to stop taking care of themselves, thereby developing this a life threatening condition known as failure to thrive.

Failure to thrive is especially dangerous to seniors because they often have underlying health problems. An elderly person experiencing a failure to thrive may refuse to take their medication, aggravating their medical problems. They may also not eat or bathe. To illustrate the danger of failure to thrive in the older population, consider the following examples:

  • An elderly person with heart problems stops taking their blood thinners and has a heart attack.
  • A senior with diabetes stops eating properly and goes into a diabetic coma.
  • A person that spends a lot of time lying in bed or sitting due to a lack of mobility develops infected ulcers by not bathing.

Any of these alone is threatening enough, but when combined with the physical changes of an ageing body, they are a recipe for disaster.

Even if an elderly person lives with a family member, they are probably left alone for long stretches when their caregiver goes to work, or runs other errands. Lack of social interaction goes against human nature and can cause depression to set in. A solution to this problem could be introducing a home health care professional to provide companion care when you’re not there.

Many people assume that home care professionals are only useful when a sick or elderly person cannot perform activities of daily living (ADLs). ADLs include everything from taking medicine to using the bathroom.The fact is that many seniors that can perform their own ADLs can still use the company of a homecare support worker to alleviate the effects of failure to thrive.

An elderly person with a home-helper isn't left alone for hours on end during the day, meaning that they have the opportunity to interact with another person instead of sitting alone; this improves mental health and therefore helps avoid failure to thrive. A home care professional can also encourage engagement outside of the house by escorting an elderly person to events, social get-togethers in the community, shopping, walks, or to visit friends.The advantages of a homecare professional go far beyond giving a senior someone else to talk to, it also gives them a set of helping hands. By assisting to prepare meals, and encouraging a senior to eat a home cooked meal, one can reduce the effects of unnecessary weight loss and malnutrition resulting from a poor diet.

Some seniors fail to thrive because they ignore their doctor’s prescriptions and medical advice. Sometime they forget to take their medications which leads to illness exacerbation. A home helper can offer medication reminders and encourage meds to be taken on time.

Failure to thrive is a dangerous condition that elderly people are particularly susceptible to due to limited social interaction. This can lead to mental and physical problems and cause further deterioration or even death. Home health care providers can provide friendly companionship and offer an elderly person a variety of people to talk to. This can help stave off depression (and failure to thrive) and help a person live a longer and happier life.

Have questions about our in-homecare services? Want to learn more? You may call us directly at (877) 365-2233 or contact us and we’ll be happy to help.


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