Optimising a Senior Person’s Diet: the Facts
Posted on: 22 September 2014 by Sarah Mello
A healthy diet should be maintained throughout each life stage, and it should certainly not be abandoned in senior years. If anything, extra special measures should be taken to ensure that our twilight years can be enjoyed to the fullest, and this will rely hugely on diet and nutrition.
There are a lot of myths surrounding senior diet and nutrition, so we’ve aimed to bring you the facts to help you on your way.
Loss of appetite isn’t just a ‘normal part of growing old’
Losing your appetite significantly is not a very good sign, even during your senior years when we do need fewer calories. It could be a sign of an underlying problem, or even a dental issue. Keep an eye on your weight into your senior years using good quality bathroom scales so you can identify a problem with dramatic weight loss early on, and so you can understand what’s a ‘normal’ weight for you or your loved one.
Skipping meals is a problem even if the person is a healthy weight
As mentioned above, loss of appetite can lead to other sinister problems, and this can include skipping meals altogether. No person should be skipping meals regularly and this will need addressing if it’s a common issue. Heading to the GP for advice and to let them know is advisable so you can tackle the issue and get to the bottom of it.
People in their senior years should still aim to get a balanced diet
The idea of wanting to treat yourself and not worry so much about things like sugar or fat intake when you’re older is fine to a certain extent, but it’s still really important to ensure you get a well balanced diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables. Being overweight as a senior isn’t a sign of ‘robustness’, and it can cause a number of weight-related health concerns, ranging from things like diabetes, strokes, heart diseases and even cancer.
Sometimes maintaining a typically healthy diet isn’t enough
It’s easy to sit here and say that the older generation still need to get out and about and be active, because in reality it can be really difficult for them. Though of course, gentle exercise should be encouraged and it’s important to aim to find something that you can do in your twilight years to keep you active. There’s an interesting article on senior exercise on the NHS website.
Food in a care home is by no means inferior
There’s been a stigma surrounding food in a care home for a long time, but those ideas just aren’t accurate anymore. Modern care homes for the elderly from extracare.org.uk have a good focus on nutritional yet tasty meals that take the residents’ tastes and preferences into account, and work to ensure they are getting a balanced and healthy diet. If you’re looking at going into a care home or are caring for someone that is, you can talk to the company about their nutritional plans before hand.