Be Aware of the Importance of Nutrition for Elderly Loved Ones
Nutrition for Elderly
The older our loved ones get, the higher their risk of developing either functional impairment or chronic illness. After talking to the dietitian at the facility where I work, I was alarmed to discover that conditions like dementia could drastically increase or decrease food intake. Gastrointestinal disorders can increase the risk of malabsorption of nutrients.
She told me that nearly one quarter of elderly adults suffer from malnutrition, and they're not all at the poverty level.
Concerned about the quality of food for my own parents and grandparents, I took a quick peek into their pantries and refrigerators one day. I wanted to make sure that they were getting adequate nutrition, which not only revolves around how many foods they eat, but what type.
Seniors need more calcium to maintain bone mass, and I wanted to make sure they had plenty of protein, zinc, and vitamin B6 to help improve their immune systems. Foods rich in antioxidants as well as vitamin C, vitamin E, and the carotenoids would help reduce the risk of macular degeneration or cataracts in their vision.
My parents and grandparents did a pretty good job balancing their nutritional needs, but I know it's not the same for every senior, especially those who live alone or those on fixed incomes. Eating well doesn't have to cost a lot of money. Find out what your parents are eating.