As you age, your life including your body go through a multitude of changes; your income, your health, your home life, and even your sense of taste and smell can change. If you have an older loved one that may no longer enjoy what used to be their favorite dish or is having trouble staying physically active, it is time to consider their health seriously. Nutrition for older adults is a top priority here at Oaks Senior Living, which is why we have compiled the following Nutrition Guide for Older Adults.
Regular physical activity and clean eating are critical for being healthy at any age. However, “clean eating” can be such a broad term. According to the Mayo Clinic, clean eating consists of four key areas:
- Eat real food and not processed or refined foods
- Eat for nourishment
- Eat more plant-based foods
- Adopt an overall cleaner lifestyle
One thing to take into consideration is that when the body ages it begins to need fewer calories, but just as many nutrients. This is why nutrient-dense foods are essential for older adults - these foods are generally packed with minerals, vitamins, and other nutrients a senior’s body may need.
The best way to ensure your older loved one is eating healthy is to ensure they are consuming all the colors of the rainbow. This means vibrant vegetables, colorful fruits, whole grains, low-fat dairy items, lean meats, seafood, beans, nuts, and seeds. They should also try to avoid unhealthy fats, sugary foods, and refined grains.
It is important for seniors to try and keep a healthy weight. It may help to check in with their primary health care provider to ensure they are on track. You may ask yourself, “Why does a healthy weight matter?” As the body ages, it tends to lose muscle mass, become frailer, and changes in caloric need. There are two concerns with nutrition for older adults and their weight.
- If your older loved one is underweight, it could signify they are not eating enough or they could even be developing a disease or illness.
- If your older loved one is obese or overweight, it could increase their risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, bone issues, and type 2 diabetes.
The best way to ensure your older loved one is at a healthy weight is by checking with their primary care doctor. You can also check at home by measuring their waist or their body mass index. It is essential for older adults to eat healthily, maintain a healthy weight, and remain physically active to keep good health.
Nutrition for older adults is not complete without considering physical activity. At Oaks Senior Living, we ensure our residents partake in various fun activities to exercise daily. Exercise is essential for everyone - even individuals with mobility restrictions, such as a wheelchair, should still participate in daily exercise. However, older adults may run into a few safety issues. For your loved one’s safety, ensure they perform the following:
- Receive approval from their primary care physician before increasing any physical activity.
- Pay attention to their body; if they become light-headed, dizzy or become in pain they should take a break.
- Avoid wearing loose fitting clothes or shoes.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Take the time to cool down and warm up.
- Work out with a partner or coach for safety.
It is essential for your loved one to start and stick with a physical activity regimen. When physical activity and healthy eating are practiced in unison, it generally leads to a healthy weight. Other ways to ensure your older loved one is leading a nutritious life, is to ensure they are staying socially active, getting plenty of sleep, and participating in activities that make them happy.
At Oaks Senior Living we believe in creating lifestyles that engage the body, spirit, and mind. We would love to learn more about your loved one and their unique needs. Please contact us today and learn more!