Nutrition Challenges for Seniors
By Sara Butler
Eating well is important no matter your age, but for seniors, physical limitations and health issues can make eating well difficult. Poor nutrition can impact up to half of all seniors, but the symptoms of malnutrition are often looked at as a side effect of disease or illness. If you care for a senior, then there are things you can do to ensure they’re eating a nutritious diet.
Why Seniors Have Trouble
Some seniors have limited mobility, problems with transportation, or financial issues that make eating healthy difficult. Arthritis can also impact their ability to prepare their own food and some medications can reduce appetite and make eating as much as they should an unappealing prospect.
The possible causes of poor nutrition in the elderly cover a wide range, including:
- Diminished appetite – As people age, they simply tend to eat less, aided by a diminished taste and smell sensitivity that keeps them from enjoying food as they once did.
- Medication – Some medications can impact appetite in seniors, causing food to taste differently or even cause nausea.
- Dental health – Poor dental health can also make eating difficult. If their dentures don’t fit right, they have missing teeth or are impacted by mouth sores, then eating can be painful.
- Financial issues – Many older people are on fixed incomes, making it more difficult to buy the food they need to stay healthy.
- Transportation issues – If you don’t have a driver’s license or a vehicle, then just going to buy the right kind of food to keep your kitchen stocked with healthy choices can be a problem.
What You Can Do
To help the senior in your life to keep their diet healthy, then you can help by:
- Offering nutritionally-dense food choices – Seniors don’t eat as much as they should, so make the things they do eat really count. Encourage whole grains, unprocessed foods, healthy fats, fresh fruits and vegetables, and protein-rich legumes, beans, and dairy.
- Making eating social – If a senior lives alone, then they may suffer from depression. If you’re worried that they are not eating properly, make eating a social affair. Invite them to your home or bring a meal over to their home to share.
- Helping them maintain oral health – Ensure the senior in your life is seeing a dentist regularly so dental issues don’t keep them from eating.
Help a senior in your life to eat better and overcome their challenges!
To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Gahanna, Ohio.