5 Ways to Address Unique Nutritional Needs in the Elderly

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Seniors have different nutritional needs than younger people. As a caregiver, you need to ensure your senior loved one is eating a well-balanced diet, as it can enhance his or her quality of life.

Maintaining a high quality of life can be challenging for some seniors, but professional caregivers can help them obtain this goal. Families can trust in Caledon, ON, elderly care experts to help their elderly loved ones focus on lifestyle choices that increase the chances of living a longer and healthier life.Here are five ways to address your aging loved one’s nutritional needs. 

1. Stimulate the Appetite

Getting enough calories is important because underweight and frail seniors are more likely to fall and get injured. However, many seniors experience loss of appetite as part of the aging process. This may be in part because of diminishing taste and/or smell. Food no longer seems appealing to them. Prepare heavily seasoned dishes to allow your loved one to make the most of his or her limited senses.

2. Don’t Serve Too Much Junk Food

Some seniors are obese, which can contribute to diabetes and cardiovascular conditions. This is especially true for seniors whose diets contain too much processed or junk food. Encourage your loved one to eat a healthier diet and indulge in unhealthy food only in moderation. Seniors who enjoy snacks should be encouraged to eat fruit, nuts, and whole grains instead of cookies or sweets. Meals should be based around natural foods with balanced, healthy amounts of protein, carbohydrates, and fats.

Unhealthy diets can increase your loved one’s risk of dementia, Alzheimer’s, and other health conditions. The days, weeks, and months following an Alzheimer’s diagnosis can be challenging for both seniors and their families. However, these challenges can be made less stressful with the help of caregivers trained in professional Alzheimer’s care. Caledon, ON, Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one enjoy the golden years while simultaneously managing the symptoms of Alzheimer’s.

3. Provide Fiber-Rich Foods

Fiber is an important nutritional component for seniors. Research shows that eating fiber reduces blood pressure, manages blood-sugar levels, and relieves inflammation and constipation. It can also make meals feel more satisfying and reduce cravings for unhealthy snacks. Fiber can be taken as a supplement in many forms, including tablets and drink mixes, and it is found in many healthy food choices like beans and whole grain products.

4. Serve Protein-Rich Foods

Protein is essential for maintaining muscle, especially as people age. Many seniors do not get enough protein in their diets, especially lean protein, which is healthier than protein found in combination with higher levels of fat. One way to ensure your loved one gets enough protein is through supplementing his or her diet with nutritional shakes. Other good sources of protein include fish, white meat from poultry, lean beef, and pork. For non-meat sources, beans and tofu are good choices. In general, processed meat products like sausage and hotdogs have very low amounts of protein and high amounts of fat. These should be eaten in moderation.

5. Increase Vitamin and Mineral Intake

Even when eating a balanced diet, seniors can have difficulty getting the vitamins and minerals they need to maintain good health. Taking multivitamins specifically formulated for seniors ensures they get enough of essentials such as vitamins C and D and calcium. To help seniors get more nutrition from natural sources, their diets can include plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables as well as whole grains and low-fat dairy products.

Professional caregivers can prepare nutritious diets and help seniors with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and other health conditions lead healthy lives. For trusted and reliable dementia care, Caledon families can turn to Home Care Assistance. We are experts in caring for seniors with memory-related conditions, our caregivers are available 24/7, and all of our dementia care programs are backed with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If you need assistance with preparing healthy meals or caring for a senior loved one with dementia, call one of our knowledgeable Care Managers today at 905-951-8885.