Bodies need different things at different stages. What a teenage boy eats during their active youth would make a sedentary senior obese in no time. The fact is, the body has different caloric and nutritional requirements during the different stages of life. While the general principles of health remain the same, it is critical for seniors to know how their dietary needs many be changing so they can meet those needs for greater health.
- Metabolic changes: As people age, the metabolism slows, and this means that it can be more difficult to lose weight. The body burs fewer calories, even if you are as physically active as you once were, you may need to cut back on calories. Seniors should consider caloric needs carefully, as maintaining a healthy weight can help ward off other problems and conditions.
- Digestion: The body has greater difficulty processing certain vitamins and minerals as we age. This is often a result of decreased saliva and stomach acid. Increasing fiber intake, and supplementing for things like B12, folic acid, etc. can help to maintain mental alertness, and help the body function properly. Seniors should consider taking a multi-vitamin, and focus on eating foods in their raw whole form, rather than processed. Whole fruit, for example, provides greater fiber than fruit juice.
- Hydration: Many seniors suffer problems associated with dehydration. As the body ages, the ability to regulate fluids may decrease, as well as the sense of thirst. Thus, the body does not signal when it needs water. Seniors should track fluid intake, and be sure to always have a drink on hand to prevent problems with dehydration such as dizziness.
- Senses: Just as the sense of thirst can decrease, so can the sense of smell and taste. This means that many seniors will over-salt foods, etc., to help them taste better. This can lead to high sodium intake, high blood pressure, and water retention. Consider using spices to season foods rather than salt. Look for naturally sweet foods, rather than using sugars.
- Medications: Often times the health conditions of a senior will impact their diet. Heart conditions may require low sodium foods, kidney conditions may require a renal friendly diet etc. Talk to your doctor to determine how nutritional needs may be impacted by health conditions, and what to watch out for.
In order to maintain healthy dietary habits, consider using a service such as Mom’s Meals, which delivers freshly prepared meals to the senior’s door, can meet dietary restrictions such as diabetes, renal, and heart healthy, and offers over 70 menu items for variety and choice.
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.