It’s estimated that as many as 62 percent of hospitalized senior citizens suffer from malnutrition. Those who are 75 or older, are low income, or live in rural areas have the highest risk. There is a misconception that malnutrition leads to underweight seniors. The fact is that even an obese elderly man or woman can be dealing with malnutrition from poor dietary choices.
The goals of a healthy diet are to eat a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and low-fat or non-fat dairy. In areas where fresh vegetables are hard to obtain, frozen is better than canned. Despite these dietary goals, there are certain nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that the elderly often fail to get enough of. These are the areas where your parents’ diets may need help.
Osteoporosis is a real threat to older men and women. To counteract it, doctors recommend making sure you get plenty of vitamin D and calcium in your diet. Low-fat or non-fat dairy is important. You can also get calcium in fortified fruit juice, breakfast cereals, fish, and certain vegetables.
If your parent hasn’t had a bone density screening done, talk to your mom and dad’s doctors about this quick test. If osteoporosis is suspected, there are prescription medications that can help. Sometimes, dietary changes are enough. It’s important to have that conversation.
Magnesium is another important component of strong bones. While calcium and vitamin D focus on dairy products usually, magnesium is something your parents can get from many fruits and vegetables. Some of the best sources are roasted almonds, spinach, and pumpkin seeds.
It’s estimated that around 6 percent of women over the age of 50 and men over the age of 70 don’t get enough protein. Protein is essential for muscle retention and bone health. It can help prevent falls related to muscle loss. Good sources of protein are lean meats like chicken breast, fish, and dried legumes.
Antioxidants are important to cell health and immunities. Vitamin E is one of the vitamins that helps with immune function. Instead of taking supplements, look for foods rich in vitamin E. They include broccoli, nuts and seeds, and wheat germ.
One reason elder citizens start to experience malnutrition is due to the fact that cooking becomes harder to manage. Standing in place, lifting hot pots and pans, and chopping ingredients are hard with the aches and pains of arthritis and the struggles of limited mobility.
To overcome these obstacles, hire elder care providers. Elder care providers can cook nutritious meals for your mom and dad. It just takes one call to start a conversation about hiring elder care providers. Talk to our experts today.
For Elder Care Services in Covington TN, please contact the caring staff at Personal Care Services MidSouth today!