People of all ages can benefit from good nutrition. But it’s especially important for seniors as their lives and bodies change. Older adults are at a higher risk for a number of chronic conditions that a healthy, balanced diet can help prevent and manage, such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, heart disease, and even some cancers. By focusing on a nutrient-rich diet, older adults can prevent falls and injuries and focus on leading an energetic, independent life.
As we all understand, maintaining a healthy diet is easier said than done. However, senior adults and their families face unique barriers, such as lack of appetite, difficulties chewing and swallowing, mobility issues that interfere with meal preparation, and even budget constraints. ComForCare caregivers can identify and fill those gaps by creating meal plans, preparing food, and creating a positive atmosphere around eating. Whatever level of assistance you need or challenge your loved one faces, our team can help them achieve a balanced and healthy diet.
Meal planning helps prevent nutritional gaps, making it easier to manage blood pressure and cholesterol, maintain a healthy weight, keep energy levels high, and get all the proper nutrients for healthy living. Meal planning is a great way to manage chronic conditions, but it can boost health and improve quality of life for anyone! At ComForCare, our caregivers focus on finding the types of food, combinations of food, portion sizes, and meal timing that will help their clients thrive.
One of the first steps toward achieving healthy eating goals is to identify your loved one’s barriers and create a plan to overcome them together. ComForCare’s caregivers can use a number of strategies to help, including:
Our needs change as we get older. For example, seniors may need more protein and less calories than they used to, and the types of nutrients (vitamins and minerals) they need may shift as well. Generally, we encourage foods higher in nutrients and lower in calories, avoiding “empty calories” like chips and candies, processed foods, sodas, and alcohol. Instead, we focus on fruits and veggies, low-fat or fat-free dairy products, lean meats, seafood, whole grains, eggs, and beans.
Seniors’ bodies tend to have a harder time removing sodium as kidney function decreases, which means they need to be especially careful when it comes to salt intake. Sodium isn’t all bad—it helps regulate the balance of fluids in the body and support the functions of muscles and nerves. However, to avoid the heart risks of too much sodium, people ages 51 to 70 should strive for at least 1,300mg per day but no more than 2,300mg. For adults over 70, the minimum suggested intake is 1,200mg.
As we age, we naturally lose muscle mass, which can lead to falls and other injuries. Getting enough protein can prevent muscle loss, support immune function, and even help blood circulate oxygen through the body. Getting enough protein can be a challenge, even if you do meet your meat, poultry, and egg intake goals. But there are plenty of other great sources of protein for meals and snacks, such as dairy, fortified soy products, beans, lentils, peas, and more!
ComForCare is here to provide simple, quick, and healthy recipes for families to use when caring for a loved one. Writing with the diverse dietary needs of older adults in mind, we’ve created a nutritious, delicious range of options to brighten the table any time of day!