How to Help Seniors Eat Well
By Sara Butler
Eating a healthy diet is important at every age. Yet health issues and limitations caused by physical issues make seniors, the fastest growing group in the population, at risk for poor nutrition. According to the National Institutes of Health, poor nutrition occurs in up to 50 percent of the elderly. If you care for someone of advanced age in your life, then you need to take steps to ensure they’re able to maintain proper nutrition. Here’s what you need to know.
Causes of Poor Nutrition
If you’re concerned a senior in your life isn’t eating well, then you need to pay attention and look for clues. Encourage them to talk about what they eat in a day and reassure them that it’s not any trouble for you to help them stay healthy. The most common causes of poor nutrition in seniors include:
- Reduced sensitivity – As a person ages, they simply are less hungry. A decline in the senses of smell and taste impact their ability to enjoy the food they eat. Due to this, if a meal isn’t appetizing, then they’ll be less likely to eat it.
- Medication side effects – Some of the medications taken by seniors reduce appetites or cause nausea. Some even alter the way food is tasted.
- Dental health – Dental problems can be quite common for seniors, making it difficult for them to eat.
- Finances – Many seniors live on fixed incomes and worry they have to cut back on groceries in order to pay bills or pay for needed medications.
- Transportation issues – If a senior can no longer drive, then getting to the store to get what they need can be a challenge. Add winter weather to the mix and you have a recipe for poor nutrition simply because they can’t get to the store to buy food.
- Physical issues – Health issues such as vertigo, arthritis, and other disabilities can make standing long enough to cook a meal challenging.
What You Can Do
If you are concerned about the diet of a senior in your life, then you can make sure they’re getting enough to eat in a few ways. First, offer them foods that are nutritionally dense such as whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and protein-rich foods such as beans and dairy.
You can also make eating social for them. Cook them dinner and go to visit a set day or two per week. This will help them to get the much-needed social time that can help stave off feelings of loneliness and provides them with a hearty meal – just make sure to leave the leftovers.
Senior citizens face many challenges to their health and wellness. Help them to live well in their golden years!
To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Lubbock, Tex.