Healthy eating is essential at every age. As a person reaches the later years in life, the body has different nutritional needs. It is important for family members and caregivers to know the unique dietary requirements for aging adults.
Health Goals for Aging Adults
Planning a healthy diet can support many nutritional goals during this stage of life. These goals should encompass:
- Sufficient vitamins and minerals, such as calcium, vitamin D, fiber, potassium, vitamin B12, healthy fats, and more.
- Weight loss if the person is overweight
- Managing blood pressure and cholesterol levels
- Reducing the risk of common disease
To achieve these goals, use a shopping list that outlines some of the most important ingredients to include in the meal plan. These foods are “nutrient dense,” which means that high levels of vitamins and minerals are available in each serving.
Nutrition Concerns for Older Adults
Small dietary changes can go a long way to protect the health of older adults. Tips include:
- Reduce extra salt. Instead, use herbs and spices to add flavor to the food.
- Include fruits and vegetables in meal planning to help with important vitamins and minerals that are needed.
- Drink milk or include other dairy products in the diet for calcium and vitamin D.
- Choose foods that are fortified with B-vitamins, such as cereal for breakfast.
Overcoming Common Dietary Issues
A few challenges can come up in the planning and implementation of a healthy eating plan. Special considerations need to be addressed, such as the texture of the food and the person’s ability to chew with dentures or damaged teeth. It may also be difficult for a person to swallow because of reduced saliva levels in the mouth.
Keep in mind that medications can sometimes change appetite. If a person is having a hard time finding the desire to eat, then it is important to consult with a doctor for possible solutions.
At Windward Life Care, we are proud to offer Caregivers Kitchen nutrition training to our staff. This program is designed to help home care aides learn effective food preparation techniques to provide safe and nutritious meals to our clients. Our experienced team is here to assist with every aspect of aging. Contact us any time to see how you can benefit from the services that are offered.