Although there is a tried, tested and scientifically proven set of rules when it comes to diet and nutrition that applies to everyone, certain people in different age groups, industries and a host of other different groups tend to require different specific nutritious requirements.
As people get older, their bodies change and therefore an entirely different set of foods become more important than when they were younger as older people are more susceptible to malnutrition. With that being said, continue reading to learn the supreme importance of adapting nutritional requirements and dietary needs for your older loved ones.
Older Adults Require A Lower Daily Energy Intake
In essence, because as you get older you require less energy to fuel your body, an elderly person’s calorie intake should and naturally usually is, significantly less than that of a younger adult.
This results in the importance of ensuring meals are dense in nutrients, specifically enough protein and vitamins to keep them healthy. Ideally, all the nutrients your older loved one requires should be sourced from the consumption of solid foods. However, if this is not possible and their diet needs to be supplemented, invest in a quality and recognized brand of vitamins to ensure there is no unnecessary ‘padding’ and that they are simply receiving the right amount of vitamins they need and nothing more.
Specific vitamins and minerals that older adults require even more than younger ones include sodium, vitamin B12 and vitamin D.
Older People Need Regular and Natural Calcium
In the same way that children need milk or another strong source of calcium to ensure their bones grow properly, a regular dose of calcium is even more important for older adults.
Calcium plays an extremely prominent role in the strong physical health and wellbeing of the elderly and can help prevent serious fractures, broken bones and osteoporosis. The best sources of calcium in the United States include cheese, milk, yogurt and to a smaller extent, orange juice, breads and certain brands of cereal.
Older People Should Avoid Saturated Fats
Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are a necessary component of anyone’s dietary requirement sheet, but as you get older, they become increasingly more important.
These types of fats help reduce the chance of developing high blood pressure and heart disease and can be found plentifully in the following types of foods:
Hard and Soft Boiled Eggs
Seeded and Nut-Based Butter
Salmon, Mackerel and Trout
Your Elderly Loved One Should Drink More Water
Perhaps the most oft-quoted piece of advice to anyone who is wanting to lose weight, feels lethargic, is wanting to get pregnant, or is simply minding their own business and living their life, is to ‘drink more water.’
You know how it is; you know they’re right, you want to get healthy, but you just never seem to get round to it. For older people, however, drinking water is even more important. As a person gets older, their ability conserve water and retain fluids naturally decreases, so encourage your aging loved ones to drink as much water as possible and encourage the consumption of tea and fruit juice or cordial.
Dealing With Loss Of Appetite
When caring for an aging family member or cherished friend, it can be incredibly frustrating and more than a little saddening when they start to show no interest whatsoever in eating. Even more hard to handle is if, previously, your loved one relished mealtimes and was even an enthusiastic and more than competent cook.
Again, even though every single person has individual needs, desires and positive triggers that set them back on the right path towards improving their physical and mental health and wellbeing, there are several tried-and-tested ways of successfully encouraging an older family member to reignite their interest in eating.
Take Your Time and Never Show Your Frustration
As with anyone, regardless of age or physical capability, everyone experiences times when they simply don’t feel like eating and, usually, this feeling passes within 24 hours and their body naturally wins out the next day in the fight for nutrients and energy. Never push someone to eat and never, under any circumstances, force them to as this will only compound the frustration they feel and make them feel unduly isolated and down.
Prepare Uncomplicated And Easy To Digest Foods
Usually, the desire to eat will come and go in waves and, when your elderly loved one is in the mood to eat a meal, the best advice is to prepare tasty, high calorie and rich in good fat foods that, ideally, you already know that they enjoy.
Such foods may include chunky vegetable soups, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, scrambled eggs, biscuits and gravy, rice pudding and shepherd’s pie. Conversely, do your best to avoid strongly flavored and tasting foods as this may diminish what little appetite your loved one currently has. Examples of such foods that should be avoided in this delicate situation include any fried food, offal of any description, blue cheese, fish, sprouts and boiled eggs.
What If Your Aging Loved One No Longer Lives At Home?
Make sure that when you and your family members help choose an assisted living community or other senior living facility for your loved one, that that particular community is fully versed and well trained in supplying nutrient-dense meals for their elderly residents.
However if, based on either medical advice from the doctor or else your own observations, certain nutrients are even more necessary for your family member than usual, contact the community staff and inform them of any changes to your loved one’s dietary requirements. Additionally, professional, compassionate and established assisted living facilities, such as Burbank independent living community, work extensively with the resident and their family to draw up a tailored dietary plan before they move in.
Being prepared and planning ahead will help make the journey through old age much easier.