While the role of nutrition is always a critical aspect of health, it’s even more important in the senior years.
National Nutrition Month is the perfect time to discuss the role a quality diet plays in one’s overall health and wellness.
A proper diet can help ward off many common health problems experienced by seniors, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, osteoporosis and more. General daily dietary guidelines recommended by the National Institute on Aging for older adults include:
- Vegetables: 2 – 3.5 cups
- Fruit: 1.5 – 2.5 cups
- Meat/beans: 5 – 7 ounces
- Grain: 5 – 10 ounces
ProHealth Partners highlights the following ways that home health care can improve a senior’s nutrition.
- Regular reminders: Professional care providers visiting the home know the importance of diet in a senior’s overall health, and they can ask a senior about their diet and make recommendations to improve it.
- Monitor compliance: Some seniors with certain health conditions need to follow a specific diet. Visiting care providers can make sure, for example, that a patient recovering from a heart attack is observing a low-cholesterol and low-sodium diet.
- Promote physical activity: Seniors who spend most of their time at home may not get enough exercise, which can decrease appetite. Therapists and physicians can help seniors identify safe ways to incorporate physical activity into their daily routines, such as a short walk or light gardening.
Family members can help their loved ones are get proper nutrition by making sure they:
- Get plenty of B-12 to stave off fatigue, muscle weakness and mood disturbances
- Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration, which is common for seniors
- Go grocery shopping regularly and purchase healthy foods