Auburn, NH Blog

The Importance of a Balanced Diet in Older Adults

Most people already know that they should be eating a "balanced diet," but there is a large amount of confusion when it comes to defining what exactly a properly balanced diet should consist of. With a new fad diet or study condemning a certain group of foods popping up seemingly every day, it can be difficult for adults providing care for elderly loved ones to figure out how to ensure that the person they are caring for is receiving adequate nutrition.

Carefully managing the diet of older adults is a skill that everyone watching over a loved one should understand. A balanced diet can help older adults improve their memory and avoid fatigue, which means that it is especially important to plan the diets of Americans who are living with or at risk for developing dementia. The Center for Disease Control also reports that four of the top ten leading causes of death in the United States are all directly associated with diet: heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes. Providing your loved one with a balanced diet (or consulting with a service that offers care for elderly family members) will greatly assist your loved one in maintaining a high quality of life and health in older age.

What should a balanced diet for older adults look like? The following are four crucial components to a comprehensive picture of health in older Americans.

Fresh fruits. Fresh fruit like apples, blueberries, and oranges don't just taste great--they also have a host of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that your loved one needs to stay alert. However, it's important to note that fruits are high in sugar. Limit your loved one's consumption to fresh fruits, as opposed to canned and processed fruit and fruit juices, which often add sugar to maintain flavor.

Vegetables. Dark, leafy vegetables are packed with essential nutrients. Providers of home care for elderly adults should focus on serving seniors veggies like kale, spinach, and collard greens, as these are the most nutrient-dense vegetables.

Grains. According to the USDA, American consumption of white flour has grown dramatically over time. This flour is low in nutritional value because many of the essential components of the grain are removed during the bleaching process. Focus on providing their loved one with whole-grain bread, brown rice, and oats for a better source of carbohydrates.

Protein. Protein is essential for everything from building muscle to improving symptoms of fatigue. Lean, low-fat meats like grilled chicken, salmon, and reduced-fat pork can help keep your loved one strong and lessen the impact of injuries like falls.

Providing a balanced diet is important if you want to care for elderly family members. By following these recommendations, you can help ensure your loved one enjoys a longer and healthier life!

Each Visiting Angels agency is a franchise that is independently owned and operated. The Franchisor, Living Assistance Services Inc., does not control or manage the day to day business operations of any Visiting Angels franchised agency.