Seniors have different nutritional needs than younger people. As a caregiver, you need to ensure your senior loved one is eating a well-balanced diet, as it can enhance his or her quality of life.
Maintaining a high quality of life can be challenging for some seniors, but professional caregivers can help them obtain this goal. Families can trust senior home care experts to help their elderly loved ones focus on lifestyle choices that increase the chances of living a longer and healthier life. Here are five ways to address your loved one’s nutritional needs.
1. Stimulate the Appetite
Getting enough calories is important because underweight and frail seniors are more likely to fall and get injured. However, many seniors experience loss of appetite as part of the aging process. This may be in part because of diminishing taste and/or smell. Food no longer seems appealing to them. Prepare heavily seasoned dishes to allow your loved one to make the most of his or her limited senses.
2. Don’t Serve Too Much Junk Food
Some seniors are obese, which can contribute to diabetes and cardiovascular conditions. This is especially true for seniors whose diets contain too much processed or junk food. Encourage your loved one to eat a healthier diet and indulge in unhealthy foods only in moderation. Seniors who enjoy snacks should be encouraged to eat fruit, nuts, and whole grains instead of cookies or sweets. Meals should be based around natural foods with balanced, healthy amounts of protein, carbohydrates, and fats.
An unhealthy diet can increase your loved one’s risk of dementia, Alzheimer’s, and other health conditions. Without the right assistance, Alzheimer’s can be challenging for seniors and their families to manage. If you’re looking for professional Alzheimer’s care, Richmond Home Care Assistance provides high-quality care aging adults and their families can count on. All of our hourly and live-in caregivers are trained to help seniors with Alzheimer’s live happier and healthier lives, and we also provide specialized dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care.
3. Provide Fiber-Rich Foods
Fiber is an important nutritional component for seniors. Research shows eating fiber reduces blood pressure, stabilizes blood sugar levels, and relieves inflammation and constipation. It can also make meals feel more satisfying and reduce cravings for unhealthy snacks. Fiber can be taken as a supplement in many forms, including tablets and drink mixes, and it’s found in many healthy food choices, such as beans and whole grain products.
4. Serve Protein-Rich Foods
Protein is essential for maintaining muscle, especially as people age. Many seniors don’t get enough protein in their diets, especially lean protein, which is healthier than protein found in combination with higher levels of fat. One way to ensure your loved one gets enough protein is by supplementing his or her diet with nutritional shakes. Other good sources of protein include fish, white meat from poultry, lean beef, and pork. For non-meat sources, beans and tofu are good choices. In general, processed meat products, such as sausage and hot dogs, have very low amounts of protein and high amounts of fat. These should be eaten in moderation.
5. Increase Vitamin & Mineral Intake
Even when eating a balanced diet, seniors can have difficulty getting the vitamins and minerals they need to maintain good health. Taking multivitamins specifically formulated for seniors ensures they get the proper amounts of essential nutrients, such as vitamins C and D and calcium. To help seniors get more nutrition from natural sources, their diets can include plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables as well as whole grains and low-fat dairy products.
Professional caregivers can prepare nutritious meals and help seniors lead healthier lives. There are a variety of age-related health conditions that can make it more challenging for seniors to live independently. However, many of the challenges they face can be easier to manage if their families opt for professional elder care. Richmond families can rely on expertly trained caregivers to keep their loved ones safe and comfortable while aging in place. If you need professional in-home care for your loved one, reach out to Home Care Assistance today at (804) 207-4746.