As seniors age, their nutritional needs change and often their eating habits change as well.
Unfortunately, as caregivers, we often see seniors who have developed poor eating habits, which can cause a multitude of problems such as reduced energy, unhealthy weight gain or loss, and more time and money spent at the doctors. It can also contribute to chronic health conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.
According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, 3.7 million seniors in the U.S. are malnourished. One of our goals at TriCounty At Home is to ensure that your loved one is eating well, so they can live fuller, healthier, and more vibrant lives.
How Nutritional Needs Change in Seniors
As we mature, our metabolism slows down, and often we become less active, which means we need to consume fewer calories. Specific nutrients become more important as we age. To help maintain bone health, seniors need more calcium and vitamin D. Fiber can help lower their risk of heart disease, help control weight, and prevent Type 2 diabetes. Reducing sodium and increasing potassium may help lower their risk of high blood pressure.
How Eating Habits Change for Seniors
There are many reasons why mature adults may not be eating well; some are physical. As we age, our sense of smell and taste can diminish causing a loss of satisfaction in eating which leads to poor food choices. Gastrointestinal changes such as constipation and gas can lead to the avoidance of healthy foods like fruits and vegetables. The loss of teeth or even ill-fitting dentures can turn seniors off to eating the right food.
As if that wasn’t enough, bad food choices can be caused by lifestyle changes. Some seniors can no longer get to the grocery store. They may not have any transportation options, or they may be afraid to go to the grocery store because they’re worried they’ll get lost or fall. If a spouse recently passed away, they may find it challenging to cook for just one. Many seniors face financial issues and may not have enough money to purchase healthy foods.
How the Caregivers at TriCounty at Home Help Ensure our Clients Eat Right
- Our caregivers know what a healthy plate looks like and the recommended food serving sizes for men and women over the age of 51.
- Our caregivers can take your Mom or Dad to the grocery store or do the shopping for them.
- Our caregivers can cook healthy meals that include lean protein, fruits and veggies, whole grains, and low-fat dairy.
- Our caregivers can make sure your loved one stays hydrated by encouraging them to drink throughout the day and limiting their intake of fluids high in sugar or salt.
- If money is an issue, we can suggest programs that are available for seniors such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
March is National Nutrition Month. Let’s celebrate by making sure that more seniors eat well. To learn more about how the caregivers at TriCounty at Home can help ensure the health, safety, and happiness of your Mom or Dad, give us a call at 610-621-1260.