Consuming a healthy diet is sometimes overlooked by seniors. As people age, their nutritional needs must continue to be met in order to remain healthy and ward off illnesses. In fact, many seniors suffer from a range of diseases that are preventable with a nutrient-rich diet.
Various challenges deter people over the age of 65 from eating balanced diets. Prescription medications are accompanied by side effects that reduce appetite or cause nausea. Receding gums or other dental problems contribute to difficulty chewing. Arthritis in the hands or legs makes cooking a chore.
Practical issues, such as a lack of transportation may keep seniors from grocery shopping for fresh produce as often as they should. Some older people are burdened with financial problems that make buying healthy foods often nearly impossible. Depression in seniors spoils a good appetite.
Hiring a home care agency to provide senior care services is one way to ensure that your senior loved ones get enough nutrition. Home care providers will help with the grocery shopping and prepare meals for your loved ones each day.
The best way to promote a nutritious diet in you senior loved ones is to follow a few recommended steps:
1. Enlist senior services.
Once seniors have enough cash to grocery shop, it becomes necessary to visit the produce aisles. Older people who are homebound still have to eat healthy. Despite medical conditions that prevent them from driving, seniors have plenty of resources to get them to the store.
Recent times have seen a spike in the number of senior services, like transportation assistance. Seniors may also call their local grocery store with a list of nutritious foods and ask them to deliver. Online shopping makes the delivery of healthy foods straight to the front door a convenience.
2. Recognize healthy foods.
In order to grocery shop from the comfort of home, a senior should know what a healthy meal looks like. Older folks should aim to reproduce the rainbow on their plate—namely, fill the dish with brightly colored fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins.
Nutrient-rich foods include fresh produce, especially fruits and vegetables that feature bright red, green, orange and purple colors. If slicing or chopping the various fruits and vegetable is difficult due to arthritic hands, buy pre-cut produce from the produce section.
Excellent sources of vitamin A and C include carrots, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, mango, spinach, kale, broccoli and red sweet pepper. Cooked beans are rich in folate. Potassium-rich foods include bananas, dried fruit, soybeans and cooked dry beans. Daily doses of potassium help control blood pressure.
Seniors should make it a habit to read nutrition labels when buying canned or frozen vegetables and fruits. Packaged produce often contains excessive amounts of sugar, sodium or saturated fats—which need to be limited in the aging individual. Frozen produce listed as low in sodium are practical alternatives.
Proteins are critical for maintaining lean muscle mass. Grilled, poached, baked or broiled meats are recommended. Avoid fried meats. Fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids include salmon, tuna, trout or herring. Seniors may also obtain essential proteins by consuming meatless foods, like textured vegetable proteins or soybeans.
Smart beverage choices for seniors include water, tea and coffee—drinks that do not contain ample sugars, like juices. Seniors should drink three cups of low- or fat-free milk. Water is the best source of hydration. Prevent dehydration, confusion and fatigue by hydrating consistently throughout every 24-hour period.
3. Engage in portion control.
While knowing what healthy foods look like, it is equally important to consume the right quantities. Weight loss, gain or maintenance is achieved through proper portions. The National Institute on Aging established dietary guidelines for people aged 50 and older:
Older adults should make a daily effort to consume 2 to 3 servings of veghttps://www.nia.nih.gov/etables, up to 2 cups of fruit, 5 to 8 ounces of grains, 3 cups of low- or non-fat dairy, 5 to 6.5 ounces of lean proteins and 5 to 7 teaspoons of oils and fats. Slight variations in daily intake are permissible to achieve nutritional goals.
4. Stretch the dollar.
Make a few dollars go a long way in a senior’s food budget. Free services, like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), provide seniors with a monthly food allowance. Among the four million older Americans who participate in SNAP, the monthly sum average seniors receive is $113.
The National Council on Aging (NCOA) makes helpful programs like these available to seniors throughout the country. Loved ones may visit the NCOA website to see if their elderly loved ones qualify for the many benefits available through the organization’s various programs intended to improve senior health.
5. Promote well-being.
Consuming nutrient-dense foods every day is crucial for seniors. The National Institute on Aging encourages seniors to eat a healthy diet to promote their physical and emotional health. Seniors who eat healthy have a reduced risk of developing chronic health conditions, like heart disease, diabetes and hypertension.
Seniors also achieve a higher quality of life and sustained independence when they digest nutritious foods. Additional health benefits include sharper cognitive abilities, increased energy, resistance to various diseases, quicker recovery from illness and the improved management of existing conditions.
Help your aging loved one meet daily nutritional needs by enlisting a skilled in-home caregiver from Assisting Hands Home Care. Our experienced caregivers are available to assist with all aspects of senior care, such as providing transportation to the grocery store and preparing balanced meals.
In addition to helping your loved one consume a healthy diet, our caregivers support seniors with the activities of daily living. Professional caregivers assist with various non-medical tasks, such as bathing, grooming, eating and toileting. Our companion care services help ward off loneliness and isolation.
Specialized caregivers from Assisting Hands Home Care are trained to handle care recipients with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia. We also provide VA Homemaker and Home Health Aide Care, respite care, 24-hour care, live-in care and hospice care. Care is flexible, from short-term caregiving to several months.
You can count on the elder care services provided by Assisting Hands Home Care. Our compassionate, reliable senior home care services provide continual satisfaction to care recipients and their families in Will and Kendall counties, Illinois.