What Prevents Seniors from Healthy Nutrition

By March 14, 2016Healthy Aging
Old woman eating a slice of bread at home

Maintaining a healthy diet is critically important because good nutrition supports good health. That’s especially true for seniors. It’s important to watch for physical signs of poor nutrition in the aging. Knowing these signs is the first step to avoiding them and the poor health that can come from inadequate nutrition.

For seniors, there are a wide variety of reasons for not eating the way they should. It could be an illness such as dementia that causes them to forget to eat, or to eat correctly. Dental issues may limit the foods that a senior can eat. Diminished senses of taste and smell may make food unappetizing. Finally, it is important to note that if seniors are depressed and isolated, they are not going to have an appetite and are not going to want to cook for themselves just to eat alone.

Caregivers can watch for red flags that may indicate a senior’s poor nutrition. Observation is key and when caregivers keep a careful, watchful eye on the senior in their care, they can often see the signs and symptoms of poor eating habits. Watch a senior’s habits at mealtime. Weight loss, easy bruising, or a slower rate of healing can indicate an unhealthy diet. It’s important to look at the medications seniors are taking and if loss of appetite is a side effect of any of them. Ask the physician what can be done to offset the medication’s impact on appetite. If a senior is aging in place, it’s a good idea to try and find out who is buying their food and how often.

To successfully address the nutrition issue, solutions can be often be found right at home. At mealtimes, seniors should be eating nutrient-rich food like nuts, peanut butter, and egg whites. Dairy adds a lot of nutrients, such as whole milk and cheese.

If the situation is complicated with food allergies, lactose intolerance and other dietary restrictions, a visit to the doctor can help to untangle these and provide clear direction for a nutritious diet.

For seniors dealing with financial issues, a shopping list can save money and help to avoid buying expensive impulse items. Exploring delicious meals and planning them can give the senior something to look forward to. Enticing them with creative snacks and frequent small meals may help seniors to eat more frequently. Planning to cook and share meals with them can lift their spirits. LivHOME companions can step in and assist seniors with all the important tasks of good nutrition, from creating a shopping list to accompanying the senior to the grocery store. Companions will help to bring the groceries into the house, cook light meals and even stay with the seniors to enjoy the meal. Companionship improves health and well-being.

Food is essential to human beings, not only for life and health, but for socialization. The importance of food to a senior’s well-being should not be overlooked and is an important part of every care plan.

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