Canada’s Seniors and Malnutrition

Seniors are particularly susceptible to malnutrition, because not only do they have different nutritional needs than younger adults, they also take more medications, and have higher rates of chronic medical conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. According to Stats Canada, 34% of seniors living at home are at risk for malnutrition. This article outlines signs that indicate senior malnutrition and ways you can prevent malnutrition in your senior and elder loved ones.

Osteoporosis in seniors is a common disease in which bones become brittle, leading to a higher risk of breaks than in normal bone. Osteoporosis occurs when bones lose minerals, such as calcium, more quickly than the body can replace them, causing a loss of bone thickness (bone density or mass).

When it comes to diabetes in seniors and elders, there are many myths that get in the way of the hard facts. Here are some of the more common myths about diabetes ─ and the facts that follow may surprise you.

As we get older, the fewer taste buds we have and the less sensitive they become. In our prime, we have between 10,000 and 15,000 taste buds. By age 70, many seniors have lost two out of three, so the sense of taste declines – and foods begin to taste more bland.As we get older, the fewer taste buds we have and the less sensitive they become. In our prime, we have between 10,000 and 15,000 taste buds. By age 70, many seniors have lost two out of three, so the sense of taste declines – and foods begin to taste more bland.

Today, there are more than 10 million Canadians living with diabetes or prediabetes. With more than 20 Canadians being newly diagnosed with the disease every hour of every day, chances are that diabetes affects you or someone you know. However, it is known how to prevent and/or delay type 2 diabetes so these trends do not have to continue.

Every year over the age of 40, our metabolism slows. Though our nutritional requirements stay almost the same as younger adults, our energy needs decrease. To keep our bodies feeling good and functioning well, we need to be aware of how our diet needs are evolving as we age. Every stage of life brings changes to our bodies, and taking an active role in diet and nutrition can mean more energy and better disease prevention in the future.

One key to finding high-nutrient foods for seniors and elders is easy: color. A colorful plate with a variety of vegetables and fruits each day will boost your intake of important nutrients. Look for a mix of fruits and vegetables and fill your plate with these valuable foods.

The importance of good nutrition spans the generations, but as we age, our dietary requirements change. Seniors need to concentrate on eating foods with a high nutrient density—that is, whole, natural, fresh foods that are packed with essential nutrients and fiber, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, legumes, healthy sources of protein and low-fat dairy products.

Food safety for seniors: each year about about 13 million Canadians become ill from eating foods contaminated by bacteria, viruses or parasites, Health Canada reports. However, safe food handling, preparation and storage practices can greatly decrease the risks of food-borne illness. These practices are particularly important for seniors.

Seniors are at a higher risk of dehydration than younger adults. In fact, one study showed that up to 48% of seniors were dehydrated upon admission to the emergency department for other issues. Staying hydrated keeps the cardiovascular system healthy. Proper hydration positively affects both blood pressure and heart rate.

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