Nutrition plays a crucial role in the health of seniors. Certain foods, vitamins, and minerals in the right amount are necessary to maintain their health and functions. Others need to be avoided or limited to prevent negative health implications.
As simple as it may sound, the specifics may be far more complex and challenging, especially if seniors live alone. For this reason, it’s ideal to get Cook County senior services that include meal preparation and feeding assistance to regularly monitor and maintain an older adult’s nutritional intake.
In a medically reviewed article for Everyday Health, reporter Diana Rodriguez features recommendations for senior nutrition from the National Institute on Aging:
A healthy diet packed with vital nutrients can help ward off potential health problems that are common in senior citizens, like constipation, heart problems, diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Nutritious foods will also help you maintain a healthy weight and can work wonders for your energy level.
The USDA Food Guide MyPlate Plan. This plan offers tips for building a healthy, balanced diet, including:
Make half your plate fruits and vegetables.
Make at least half your grains whole grains.
Enjoy your food, but eat less.
Compare sodium in foods like soup, bread, and frozen meals — and choose the foods with lower numbers.
These general guidelines take into the account the physical changes that happen to an older adult, as Rodriguez notes. For instance, fewer calories would be needed, since the elderly’s metabolism is slower than before, but more nutrients should be incorporated in every meal. Aside from watching their diet, seniors are also generally advised to drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated.
Seniors with special conditions may need diet modifications. Those with heart ailments may have more restrictions on fat and salt intakes. Diabetics would need small, frequent meals that are devoid of simple sugars. On top of that, they have to watch out for food that could interact with the medications they take.
With the assistance of professional Cook County senior care providers, an older adult can better adhere to his/her prescribed diet and medications. Services like that of Comfort Keepers of Chicagoland Area, IL can also apply to seniors with Dementia, who are more delicate and need more assistance in their daily activities. Trained caregivers from these facilities can oversee the nutritional needs of seniors, while acting as their caring companions.
(Source: Meeting Your Nutritional Needs as You Age, Everyday Health, April 4, 2013)