Aging bodies need certain foods to promote good health. Eating well, and adapting diets to fit changing needs is important for senior health. Let’s look at a few of the changes that can be made to meet nutritional needs.
The change: Slower metabolism.
What it means: Because metabolism slows naturally with age, and many seniors do not get as much exercise as younger individuals, seniors need to eat foods that are low in calories, but rich in nutrients. They need fewer calories each day, and thus need the calories they do get to be nutrient-rich.
The change: Digestive system changes.
What it means: As an individual ages, the body produces less fluid, and extra fluid is needed in order to process foods. Thus the body needs more fiber, and one has to be careful to get important nutrients like folic acid and vitamins B6 and B12. In addition, seniors need to be more careful to drink enough water, as they may not feel as thirsty, and thus may accidentally end up dehydrated.
The change: Appetite changes.
Many seniors are malnourished, and this can be due to changes in appetite that occur because of medication, because of metabolic changes, and more. Appetites change, but changing appetite should not lead to decreased health. Monitor diet, make sure you eat enough, and eat foods that are nutrient rich.
So, how can you meet the changing needs?
Plan your plate: One great suggestion to help yourself meet changes in dietary needs is to make your plate a rainbow. It is less important to count nutritional facts, and more important to eat fresh and healthy foods in a variety of colors. This will help you get everything your body needs in a healthy and tasty way.
Get some help: Often seniors suffer malnutrition because limited mobility, limited income, and other factors (such as decline in appetite and taste) lead to less eating. Get help if needed. Ask someone to take you grocery shopping, meal plan with a professional, see a nutritionist, or consider a meal delivery service such as Mom’s Meals, which offers variety, meals that meet dietary restrictions, affordability, and great taste – all designed for seniors.
Make what you eat count: Choose foods that are high in nutrients and low in calories. Choose fresh and healthy rather than processed and refined. Eat healthy fats, and avoid too much sugar.
Making a few changes, and making sure you (or your senior loved one) is getting enough food and the right foods is critical to health.
About R.O.S Therapy Systems: R.O.S. Therapy Systems began as a backyard project in 2010. Scott Silknitter was searching for tools to help his mother care for his father, Roger Owen Silknitter, during a 25-year fight with Parkinson’s disease and dementia. That project became a personal mission to help all family caregivers. From family caregiver training and activity books to mobile apps to activity systems, R.O.S. has grown to become a single-source provider of informational “how to’s” and a growing provider of adaptive tools for the millions of husbands, wives, children, and family members that become caregivers.
Common sense advice and instruction based on proven principles of communication, engagement, and daily living are the heart of everything R.O.S. offers for family caregivers. Improving quality of life for caregivers is our mission, and designing everything for a family caregiver struggling with a loved one is the starting point. Whether it is dementia, diabetes, Parkinson’s, ALS, stroke, visual impairment, developmental disabilities, or any other issue that forces someone to care for a loved one, R.O.S. and its Caregiving 101 program are here to help.