Capital Health Care NetworkUnderstanding Senior Nutrition
Older adults are negatively impacted by poor eating habits and a lack of nutritional understanding for seniors. Understanding the changing nutritional needs of older adults is critical due to the overlap of several age-related challenges. Seniors have higher rates of chronic diseases like diabetes, hypertension and heart disease. Others live with chronic pain, osteoporosis and various forms of arthritis. Many face daily challenges of managing complicated medication regimes. The elderly are more likely to live alone which can lead to increased likelihood of loneliness, isolation and even depression. Living alone also means cooking for one and eating alone which both have negative nutritional consequences. In addition, many seniors face challenges associated with living on a limited or fixed income which often compromises their ability to purchase nutritional food.
Studies show that proper senior nutrition reduces the risk of the following:
- Compromised Immune System
- General Muscle & Body Weakness Leading to More Falls
- Heart Disease
- Certain Types of Cancer
- High Blood Pressure
- Certain Types of Arthritis
Doctors generally recommend a variety of fruits, vegetables, proteins and whole grains to maintain and improve overall senior health. Other recommendations include:
- Choose a variety of healthy foods. Eating the same foods day after day is boring and monotonous. Eating a variety of healthy foods enhances the dining experience and makes staying on track easier.
- Become better informed. Understanding senior nutrition includes taking the side effects of medication into consideration, and it empowers seniors to tailor a nutritious plan with their special needs in mind.
- Stay hydrated. Staying hydrated will require a conscious effort because as we age, we tend to get thirsty less often even though we still require the same amount of liquids as we ever did.