March is National Nutrition Month. Let’s celebrate, Central Indiana! From the littlest Hoosiers to the oldest Hoosiers, proper nutrition matters, and Paradigm Living Concepts, a leading Indianapolis provider of home health, hospice and palliative care, is here to share a few helpful healthy eating tips for our elderly population.
As health issues and physical limitations arise in seniors, it becomes more difficult to get the nutrients needed which can lead to other health problems.
Possible causes of poor nutrition in the elderly:
- Decrease in Sensitivity: decrease in appetite and sense of smell
- Medication Side Effects: meds cause reduced appetite, nausea, food tastes differently
- Poor Dental Health: ill-fitting dentures, jaw pain, mouth sores, missing teeth make chewing painful
- Financial Burden: fixed or limited incomes may cause grocery budget to become decreased
- Lack of Transportation: no one to help elderly get to grocery store
- Forgetfulness: dementia, alzheimers and poor memory cause pt to forget to eat or forget to eat the right types of food
- Physical Difficulty: pain and poor strength make simple tasks more difficult
- Depression: decreased appetite
9 Ways to Improve Senior Nutrition
- Offer nutrient dense foods like whole, unprocessed high in calories/nutrients
- Healthy fats…nut butters, nuts, seeds, olive oil
- Whole grains…brown rice, whole wheat bread, oats, whole grain cereal
- Fresh fruits/vegetables…canned and frozen are also good choices
- Protein rich beans, legumes and dairy products
- Enhance aromas and flavors: appealing foods stimulate appetite; use herbs, marinades, dressings, and sauces; switching between a variety of foods during one meal can keep it interesting (combining textures such as yogurt/granola)
- Make eating a social event: elderly become more interested when they have someone to share it a meal with
- Encourage healthy snacking: large meals and eating 3x/s per day are hard for elderly, encourage or plan for several mini-meals throughout the day
- Take Care of Dental Problems: see a dentist, medicare covers certain dental procedures
- Take them to the store: If they do not have a way to get proper, healthy groceries help them or find someone who will
- Give Reminders: Schedule meals at the same time each day, give visual/verbal reminders when it is time to eat a meal or snack
- Maintain Food Storage: keep canned and non-perishable foods in cupboard in case of emergency
- Use Supplements Daily: ask your doctor first before you start a new supplement to make sure it doesn’t interact with any other meds you are taking
Start simple and add one or two of the above nine tips and before you know it, you and you’re loved one will be putting your best fork forward!
Do you have Indianapolis home health, hospice or palliative care questions? Our team is here to help. Shoot us an email or give us a call.