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Piedmont HomeHealth News

Nutrition Tips for the Elderly

home care winston-salemHave you ever wondered why many restaurants have a kid’s nutrition menu as well as a senior citizens’ menu? That’s because as you age, your body needs fewer calories. The average calories needed per day for a moderately active adult drops by 200 after age 50. But often times, people age 65 and older won’t feel as hungry, which is their body’s way of naturally regulating their calorie intake.

Even if you or your loved one doesn’t feel like eating, it’s important to encourage them to eat healthy meals to maintain good nutrition. Eating a good variety of healthy foods helps provide the vitamins and minerals you need to maintain healthy bones, muscles and organs. And good eating habits can also reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when planning your meals:

– Constipation may affect up to 20 percent of those aged 65 or older. Therefore, it’s important to eat plenty of foods rich in fiber, including apples, raisins, whole-wheat bread, broccoli and lima beans.
– Older adults need at least the recommended daily allowance of calcium and more than the recommended daily allowance of Vitamin D to maintain bone health. Drinking Vitamin D fortified milk is a great way to ensure this.
– Many people over 50 have reduced ability to absorb B12, so look for foods that are rich in B12 to supplement your diet. These include lean meat, fortified cereals and some fish.
– Adults over 50 without kidney disease or diabetes need about 70-100 ounces of protein per day. This can be found in a variety of sources including dairy products, eggs, nuts, seeds, fish, and red meat.

It is also very important to drink a lot of water. As we age, our bodies are prone to dehydration because we lose some of our ability to regulate fluid levels and our sense of thirst may not be as sharp. It is recommended people over 65 drink water with meals and sip water every hour to avoid urinary tract infections, constipation and confusion.

Helping your loved ones continue to eat a healthy diet is one of the services we provide through Piedmont Home Health. Our Meal Preparation Services include supervised cooking, help with meal preparation, help cutting food or assisting with eating, and help getting to the dining room in a retirement establishment. Any help with meal preparation is customized to fit each client’s needs.

If you would like to learn more about the nutrition needs of older adults, or the services provided Piedmont Home Health, call us today at 336-724-1197.

Sources:
Health.gov [http://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/dga2005/toolkit/olderadults/OAnutrition.htm]
Helpguide.org [http://www.helpguide.org/articles/healthy-eating/eating-well-as-you-age.htm]