Keeping a healthy diet is extremely important because good nutrition is part of good health. For seniors, it is even more important to maintain a balanced diet. Knowing how to recognize the physical signs of poor nutrition in older people is the first step in prevent health related problems from malnutrition.
There are lots of reasons why seniors may not have healthy eating habits. Dementia or illness could be the reason responsible for unhealthy eating patterns. Some seniors may have a limited choice of the foods they eat due to dental problems. Food may be less enticing – some foods may not taste as good as they used to because of a weak sense of taste or smell. Other times seniors may experience decreased appetite due to depression or isolation.
Whatever the reasons is, there are some obvious signs of poor nutrition to look out for. It’s important to watch out for the signs and symptoms of poor eating habits. There are a number of things to observe such as:
· Habits at meal time.
· Loss of weight.
· Easy Bruising and slow healing.
· Side effects from medication.
· The source of their food.
Good nutrition is the cornerstone of good health and you don’t have to go far to find solutions. Start simple by making sure that meals contain nutrient rich foods such as eggs, nuts, beans and whole grains. If there are other factors to consider, such as lactose intolerance or food allergies, meet with a doctor or nutritionist to help create a healthy meal plan.
Finding tasty ways to eat healthy food can be a fun activity and something to look forward to. For seniors who do their own shopping, a list can help save money and stay away from impulse buying. Snacking often and eating smaller meals is generally good for the metabolism. Planning to cook and share meals with friends is also a great tool for motivation.
Providing Healthy Choices
It seems like eating nutritious food is one of the easiest routes to improving health, there are some roadblocks. Access and affordability are two of the biggest issues faced. It may be more convenient to buy less healthy foods. Making sure that seniors have good nutrition not only improves health, it can add to their quality of life and reduce the risk for chronic diseases. While there are broad solutions being executed across the country, such as the USDA’s food pyramid campaign – there are things that we can do on our own to make a big impact on hunger.
The American government has issued a number of policies in place to promote healthy dietary habits among seniors. Seniors who go hungry or have poor nutrition are at a higher risk for health problems than those who maintain a nutritious diet. They are more likely to suffer from diabetes, depression, physical impairments and are more likely to describe themselves as unhealthy. Nutrition has an incredibly large impact on the risk for health issues like heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes. Below are some tips that can help you promote good nutrition for your elderly friend or loved one.
· Bring food as a gift. When you visit seniors, bring healthy foods to eat such as fresh fruit. If fresh isn’t available, dried or frozen fruit is also a nutritious option.
· Come up with creative dishes that are healthy and taste great.
· Fruit juice can be a good gift, particularly in the winter. Be careful though, some juices may have a high amount of sugar, which can spike blood sugar to an unhealthy level.
· Take a trip to the local farmer’s market to enjoy the day and get nutritious food at the same time.
· Make nutrition a priority when you are caring for seniors. This can help them address issues, improve health and keep healthy habits.
· Gather people together for a pot luck full of nutritious foods. Socializing around food can be a very positive way to focus on nutrition.
Before you decide to make any changes or plans, speak with a licensed healthcare specialist. Total Home Health Inc. can connect you with a local professional to answer your questions. We can help you meet with a doctor, physician or certified expert to discuss your options.