PLYMOUTH — Dietary needs evolve as people age, and seniors need to know how to manage those changes to maintain physical health and wellness. Older adults who take an active role in shaping their diet and nutrition habits can have more energy, better disease prevention and quality of life.
Seniors should consult their physician to discuss individual needs. Healthcare professionals can also help seniors and their families create and implement healthy eating plans.
These plans often include:
- Increased protein and fiber intake. Protein and fiber are important nutrients for seniors. Foods high in fiber can help maintain healthy digestive systems, and increasing protein intake can help seniors increase or maintain energy and strength.
- Whole grains have multiple benefits. Whole grains are fiber-rich foods that not only aid the digestive process but promote healthy hearts for seniors. Cereal, rice and bread made with whole grains can be found at more grocery stores and provide several serving choices to meet recommended daily requirements.
- Calcium is a key component to maintaining bone strength. Calcium can help prevent osteoporosis, especially when intake is consistent. Preventing osteoporosis is critical for seniors, especially those who are at risk for falls.
- Hydration is critical at any age. Physical changes that occur with age make hydration even more important for older adults. For those that are less inclined to drink water, there are alternatives like milk, juice and broth, and hydrating foods including watermelon, cucumbers and grapes.
If engaging in good eating habits is a struggle, there are steps seniors can take to get proper nutrition. In addition to consulting a physician about diet or health concerns, older adults can also try the following tactics to get back on the right track:
- Make meals a social occasion. Sharing a meal is one of the most enjoyable ways to ensure that someone is eating well. This can include making something healthy and delicious for others, or reaching out to people that love to cook healthy food and offering them some company at meal times.
- Make healthy eating fit a budget. Good food doesn’t have to be expensive. A doctor or nutritionist can recommend budget-friendly, nutritious food options. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle also saves money on future medical care.
- Shop for healthy foods. Having a kitchen stocked with healthy snacks and meal options is one of the most important steps to maintaining a balanced diet.
- Ask for help. If a senior has concerns about their ability to plan healthy meals, shop for groceries or get the nutrition they need, tell them to ask for help. In-home caregivers, delivery services, family, friends and medical professionals can all help older adults reach nutrition goals.
Comfort KeepersCan Help
If an older adult is struggling to maintain healthy eating habits, consider getting support from the care team at Comfort Keepers. Caregivers can help with grocery shopping, meal preparation, and can help support physician-prescribed exercise regimens and diets. To learn more about in-home care services, contact Comfort Keepers.