Home Care Blog>In Home Care | April 4, 2017
Nutrition for Seniors | We often hear about eating a healthy and nutritious diet, but many times it is unclear exactly what “nutrition” is. After all, the definition of a healthy meal has changed considerably over the last decade, let alone the past 30 or 40 years.
In simplest terms, nutrition refers to an individual’s consumption of proper nutrients, where nutrients are sources of nourishment for the body. These nutrients come in various forms: protein, carbohydrates, fat, vitamins, minerals, water, and fiber. Some nutrients are required in large quantities, and some are needed in much smaller amounts. At times, nutrients must be consumed together in proper combinations in order to be useful to the body. For example, calcium is an essential nutrient required to form strong bones and teeth. However, the body cannot absorb and use calcium without the proper amount of vitamin D. Therefore, a person who consumes vast amounts of calcium but has a vitamin D deficiency may still have problems with osteoporosis, weak teeth, and other conditions associated with low levels of calcium.
In addition to making the body stronger, proper nutrition can also help seniors live longer. According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, seniors who “ate their “five-a-day” portions of fruit-and-veggies tended to live longer than those who did not.” Surprisingly, the Swedish study this information was based off found that seniors who went “all in” and gorged themselves on fruits and vegetables did not have any additional health benefits. In other words, nutrition implies more than simply eating fruits and vegetables. Good nutrition entails eating the proper number of calories and the proper ratio of nutrients.
In order to better improve the chances of proper nutrition, food should be consumed in several meals a day, with large amounts of nutrients being consumed early in the day. Researchers in Tel Aviv, Israel, found that “When we eat our food has a considerable impact on how our bodies process food…a large breakfast – containing 700 calories – promotes weight loss and lowers the person’s risk of developing heart disease, high cholesterol, and diabetes.”
Sadly, many seniors with mobility issues or chronic pain have difficulty preparing nutritious meals. In these circumstances, home care services can make a significant difference. For example, Comfort Keepers home care services provide meal preparation support, shopping assistance, and coordination with doctors and professional nutritionists and dietitians.
The goal of home care services is not just to perform tasks for the senior but to improve their quality of life and increase overall independence. By helping seniors understand their changing nutritional requirements, supporting their access to healthy foods, and increasing the likelihood that nutritional meals will be prepared and eaten in optimal meal situations, home care services personnel can give your senior loved one a better chance of maximizing their health and welfare.
If you are concerned about the safety of your aging loved ones, especially in regard to fire, we can help. While it’s important to rely on the expertise of licensed professionals for certain precautions, we can provide home safety assessments and ensure your loved ones’ environment is safe.