There is a prevailing thought that the young can eat whatever they want and still not gain a pound. In some ways this is true. As a youth, your metabolism, or the series of processes that your body uses to change food and drink into energy, is working at a fast pace. This is what allows young people to grow; their seemingly boundless amount of energy leading to activity that burns off the calories they intake. With age, even the metabolism of the most active adult will slow. For seniors, this means the maintenance of a well-balanced diet and nutrition become an important part of their daily routine. As seniors age, the nutritional needs necessary to maintain a healthy weight and stay energized will also change. Yet, they do not always know how to make the essential modifications to their diets. Home care providers can work with elders to meet their changing dietary needs.
Seniors changing nutritional needs
One in four elderly adults have poor nutritional habits, leaving them vulnerable to sickness and disease. Because of a slowing metabolism, elders:
- Need fewer calories to sustain a healthy lifestyle. Seniors need anywhere from 2,000 to 2,200 calories per day, depending on age and gender. Eating high caloric foods can lead to weight gain, increasing risks for relating health conditions.
- Can experience a loss of the sense of taste and therefore appetite leading to undereating, which creates nutrient deficiencies that can compromise the other systems of the body.
- Can have medical conditions associated with changing nutritional needs. Chronic health problems like diabetes, high blood pressure, cholesterol, or osteoporosis can be caused or prevented by diet.
- Must greatly consider food preparation due to a weakening immune system. Proper food preparation limits the risk of food-borne illnesses or poisoning.
Ensuring proper diets for seniors
Home care professionals are trained to help seniors understand how to maintain a proper diet for their advancing age. This includes educating seniors on being familiar with what a healthy plate looks like as well as preparing nutrient rich meals for those who cannot themselves. For those able to remain independent, home care providers can providers have a wealth of knowledge from which to draw and can provide advice on how to shop, prepare, and eat healthy. Home care services can be a great asset by helping seniors eat healthy meals by:
- Helping seniors plan meals in advance to make it easier to shop and prepare healthier dishes. While spontaneity will happen, it can lead to selecting quick, non-nutritious options.
- Teaching seniors how to read nutrition labels. Home care professionals can work with seniors during a trip to the grocery store. Seniors should be aware of the number of calories as well as the fat and sodium content of the foods they select.
- Using recommended servings: The temptation to add a little more food to ones plate can be strong, especially in food a senior enjoys. Still, adhering to the serving guidelines will help bring balance to meals.
- Limiting sodium intake: Seniors can use herbs and spices to season and flavor foods as opposed to large amounts of salt.
- Reminding seniors to drink plenty of liquids: Staying hydrated is as important as the foods selected. Home care providers can also watch for warning signs of dehydration.
- Keeping food safe: Food safety in preparation and storage is paramount to senior health. Home care assistance can remind seniors to clean foods during preparation and keep uncooked meats away from raw or prepared foods. It is important to cook and store foods at the proper temperature to reduce the risk food-borne illnesses.
Livestrong.com – https://www.livestrong.com/article/320753-how-many-calories-per-day-for-the-elderly/
Mayo Clinic – https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/weight-loss/in-depth/metabolism/art-20046508
National Council on Aging – https://www.ncoa.org/economic-security/benefits/food-and-nutrition/senior-nutrition/
National Institute on Aging – https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/choosing-healthy-meals-you-get-older
If you or an aging loved one is consideringhome care in Edina,MN, and the surrounding areas, please contact the friendly staff at CareBuilders at Home Minnesota. Call today 612-260-2273.