At the tail end stage of life, people are at greater risk of developing complex health conditions, including diabetes, dementia, osteoarthritis, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
For elders to stay healthy, their caretakers need to ensure that they have access to nutritious food and don’t consume too much of anything that can cause further health problems.
In this article, we’ll discuss the unique health needs seniors face and what you can do to make nutrition a priority.
How the Nutrition Needs of Older Adults DifferSeniors face unique health care needs and need to pay extra attention to their diet. Here’s how you can make nutrition a priority for optimal health during the golden years.
Increase Protein Intake
As adults get older, it becomes harder for their bodies to maintain muscle mass, and they need to increase their protein intake. Foods like peas, lentils, beans, and fortified alternatives are fantastic protein sources to fulfill that need.
Limit Sugar and Sodium
Older adults are at higher risk of developing chronic diseases, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease. Their bodies are less tolerant of harmful foods, including foods containing excessive sodium, added sugar, and saturated fats.
Weakening Bone Health
Older adults are quicker to lose bone mass and density and are at higher risk of developing bone diseases like osteoporosis and osteoarthritis. Because their bones have become brittle, falls and injuries can become fatal. To compensate, older adults need to consume foods rich in calcium. Good sources of calcium include soy products like tofu, almonds, seeds, and dark green vegetables.
Increased Risk of Dehydration
Because the sense of thirst dwindles with age, older adults can no longer trust their bodies to remind them when to drink. To prevent dehydration, older adults need to increase their water intake.
How to Ensure That Elders Get Proper Nutrition
Choose the Right Living Facility
If you lack the time required to give your elderly loved one proper care, consider contacting an assisted living facility. Assisted living facilities typically provide private housing, medical services, and 24-hour supervision.
Most importantly, senior living programs include daily balanced meals that give seniors the nourishment they need. Select living facilities staffed with professionals, such as dieticians, chefs, and nurses, who ensure nutrition is at the forefront of care.
Opt for a Senior Meal Delivery Service
If you want to keep your elderly loved one in your care but lack time to prioritize nutrition, you can consider senior meal delivery services.
These types of services bring nutrient-packed meals right to your doorstep. Some will deliver pre-made meals that you can reheat, while others buy the necessary ingredients so you can cook their meals yourself.
Senior meal delivery services let you get all the benefits of meal planning without having to plan and shop yourself. Many will also cater to specific diets, such as keto and veganism.
Popular meal delivery services include Mom’s Kitchen, Hello Fresh, and Meals on Wheels America.
Make Use of Supplements
It’s still possible for seniors to miss out on certain nutrients in their diet, even when they do their best to balance their meals.
Vegans, in particular, have to consume more plant-based protein to get nutrients like vitamin B12, iron, and zinc, typically found in animal meats.
Seniors, who tend to have lower appetites, might find it challenging to increase their intake to the level they need.
Providing supplements can help fill in the gaps. Many helpful supplements are available on the market, such as magnesium powders that help relieve stress and anxiety, and vegetable capsules that can boost immune system function.
If you’re caring for an older adult, it is your responsibility to ensure that they get the nourishment their aging body needs. Consider senior facilities, meal delivery services, and supplements.
Submitted by Haven Ellis for countrylifefoods.com