With increasing life expectancy, good nutrition plays a vital role in the quality of life, reducing the risk of serious health conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, and bone health. Several factors affect the nutritional care of seniors, such as health conditions, medicinal interactions, income and even social isolation.As a result, older people tend to eat less and are less able to absorb vital nutrients.
Here are 6 ways to ensure that the nutritional needs of your senior loved one are met.
Reminders to eat
Forgetting to eat is a common problem among seniors. You could set reminders for meal and snack times or place a schedule for them in plain sight.
Easy to cook and eat
To ensure adequate nutrition in seniors, it’s vital to make things as accessible and easy. Many foods can provide great nutritional value without lengthy prepping and cooking, for example, ready-to-eat proteins, such as tuna, cheese, yogurt and peanut butter. (Don’t forget to talk to their doctor about specific dietary instructions).
Whole grains are good for adding fiber to diet and constipation relief, a common problem for many inactive seniors. Whole grains are available as crackers, cereals, breads and other easy-to-cook options, such as microwavable brown rice and oatmeal.
Fruits and vegetables are essential for providing vitamins and minerals. Dark leafy greens, such as spinach and kale, are great foods for many patients with neurological issues, since these super foods contain high levels of antioxidants that prevent further damage to brain cells. If a senior has dental issues, fruit and vegetables can be turned into a smoothie.
Your senior loved one may show some resistance initially, but you need to remain calm and positive. Seniors are often unable to eat large portions or find food quite bland. So, ensure smaller portions if needed or prepare and season food well to make it look and taste more appealing.
Co-ordination problems are common among seniors. There are many finger foods,or easy-to-eat foods, that can be prepped in advance to help make mealtimes easier. You can also buy specifically designed cutlery for seniors who struggle with co-ordination.
Let them participate in the Process
Allowing a senior to select the ingredients and products they will be incorporating in their life can be really beneficial. Including them in the decision-making process, for example, the types of foods they would like to eat. Get them involved in their change of diet.
Having you there with them, to read labels and understand about the foods they are buying and consuming, can help a senior feel less anxious.
Dehydration is a common reason for hospitalization in seniors, and its consequences can be serious. To ensure proper hydration in seniors, it is essential to make water easily accessible for seniors. Another important thing about hydration is to remember to drink water. So, set alarms (there are apps too) in their phone to remind them to drink water regularly throughout the day. Check with their doctor whether their water consumption should be slightly reduced towards the evening in order to prevent frequent urination during the night and ensure uninterrupted sleep.
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