As you age, your nutritional needs change. Age related changes can affect how a body processes food, which in turn influences your dietary requirements and appetite. The following are some of these important changes:
Digestive System: As you age, your body produces less of the fluids necessary for proper digestion, making food absorption more difficult. This is why B6 and B12 supplements, as well as folic acid are critical for seniors.
Appetite: As you age, you may be prescribed different medications. These medications may affect your appetite.
Metabolism: Age slows down your metabolism. Seniors also tend to slow down exercise routines, which slows down metabolism further. The fewer calories burned, the less calorie intake is required. Seniors are encouraged to consume food that is as nutrient-rich as possible and maintain a good level of exercise.
Emotional Health: Last but not least, elderly loved ones face many different situations, including physical issues, loss of friends, spouse, job, and these changes may result in depression, which in turn reduces appetite.
Many diseases prevalent in the elderly population can be prevented by senior care and proper nutrition. Nutritional intervention can also prevent hospitalization—malnutrition is one of the major reasons seniors suffer health problems.
Senior care and senior home care experts can help prepare small, healthy meals for your loved one at home. If your loved one is unable to shop for and prepare healthy food for himself or herself regularly, senior care providers can provide the necessary assistance, as well as help with other activities of daily living. Although in some cases, individuals require specific solutions to dietary needs, there are certain general guidelines that should be considered by all.
Senior Care Nutritional Guidelines:
Have your loved one drink plenty of water.
Stick to healthy fats.
Include whole grains in your diet.
Include foods high in fiber.
Include high amounts of calcium.
Ensure your loved one has a proper intake of B12.
Although getting older is inevitable, it’s possible to slow down the aging process and improve the quality of life of senior folks. Senior care and senior home care providers can help this process by promoting healthy eating. Remember to schedule regular physical exams and consultations for your loved one as well.
National Institute of Aging’s Daily Suggestions for Seniors:
Fruit: 1.5-2.5 cups
Meat and Beans: 5-7 ounces
Grain: 5-10 ounces
Vegetables: 2-3.5 cups
Oil: 6 teaspoons
DASH Diet Daily Requirements: (Heart Healthy Plan for Seniors with High Blood Pressure)
Grains: 7-8 oz
Meat and Beans: 6 ounces or less of meat, fish, or chicken – 4-5 servings of seeds, nuts, and/or dried beans per week.
Vegetables: 2-2.5 cups
Fruit: 2-2.5 cups
Oil: 2 teaspoons
Senior care and senior home care providers can help your loved one by preparing nutritional meals on a regular basis, taking specialty concerns into account, including medical problems and diabetes. Senior care allows aging loved ones to remain safely in their homes as long as possible—caregivers visit as needed and take care of everyday services, including cleaning, running errands, stocking the fridge, and meal preparation. These small steps can ease the burden on your loved one and make a big difference in their quality of life.
Bio: Erica R. is a freelance writer for Visiting Angels, the nation's leading, network of non-medical, private duty home care agencies providing senior care, senior home care, personal care, respite care and companion care to help the elderly and adults continue to live in their homes across America. Visit the Visiting Angels website to find out more information on elderly care.