What are the nutritional needs of an 83 year old woman recovering from a broken hip?

1 answer | Last updated: Nov 16, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

My mother is 83, has recently broken her hip and is scheduled to return to her home. We believe the fall was preceded by her poor eating habits. In the nursing home where she is receiving short term care she has lost 4 pounds in 4 weeks. She probably has lost 25 pounds in the last 2 years. What is the best way to deal with this problem?

Expert Answers

Jennifer Serafin, N.P. is a registered nurse and geriatric nurse practitioner at the Jewish Homes for the Aged in San Francisco.

If your mother is suffering from weight loss, and the cause of the weight loss is not known, then she needs to have it looked into by her health care provider.  They need to make sure certain diseases are not contributing to her weight loss, such as diabetes, cancer, or thyroid conditions.

Regarding her fall and hip fracture, this puts her at increased nutritional risk.  To recover well, she needs to eat good proteins (chicken, fish, dairy)  and have a balanced diet to heal properly.

You do not mention if she has memory problems in your question.  Is she safe to live at home alone?  Why has her eating habits become so poor?  Can she provide herself with nutritional meals?  I would speak with the Social Worker in the short term care unit to see if she would qualify for any assistance once she returns home.  She may need more assistance now, especially since she fractured her hip.  You could also look into meals on wheels, as they often provide free meals to seniors at home.