How to Overcome the Hurdles of Maintaining Senior Nutrition
In the midst of the busyness in our lives, how often do we grab a quick cup of coffee and a bagel on our hurried way to work, stopping for takeout on the way home to avoid having to cook? Younger adults with a high metabolism, optimum muscle strength, and less chronic health issues can get away more easily with temporarily poor eating habits; however, this is not true for senior nutrition.
While our bodies change in aging, the need for appropriate nutrition becomes much more critical. Seniors who are malnourished are at a greater risk for falls, anemia, illnesses, hospitalizations, and more. It’s estimated that as a nation, we spend over $150 billion yearly in medical costs stemming from elderly dietary deficiency.
There are a number of hurdles for the elderly to overcome in order to maintain ideal nutrition, such as:
- Medicine side effects, such as impacting taste and scent
- Difficulty eating because of arthritis or dental problems
- Problems with the tasks involved with grocery shopping or preparing meals
- Lonesomeness and depression, making meals less enjoyable
- Lack of interest to prepare balanced meals when cooking for just one
- Financial limitations
To make matters even more difficult, medical appointments and check-ups often overlook nutritional counseling. According to Simin Nikbin Meydani, director of the Jean Mayer USDA Human Research Center on Aging at Tufts, “If you go to your physician, they will weigh you and check your heart, but they are not measuring your nutritional status.”
So how can we ensure our senior family members are maintaining proper nutrition? The MyPlate for Older Adults from Tufts University is a great place to begin, outlining simple dietary modifications that are less inhibitive than trying a complete dietary makeover. For example, “Tea and toast can turn into a bowl of oatmeal with a banana. It’s just as easy to make,” according to Shirley Chao, of the MA Executive Office of Elder Affairs.
Another choice is to engage the services of an expert in-home caregiver, such as those at Independence-4-Seniors Home Care, who can assist with planning healthy, delicious meals, running errands such as picking up groceries, and spending time with seniors during mealtimes to stave off loneliness.
For more tips for helping improve nutrition for an older adult, contact Independence-4-Seniors Home Care. We can plan and prepare healthy meals for older adults throughout DuPage County and Cook County – and we’ll even clean up the kitchen afterwards!
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