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Nutrition’s Essential Role in Elder Home Care

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It’s important for people of all ages to get their daily vitamins and minerals. However, it’s especially crucial for seniors, as their nutritional needs change with age. Learn how caregivers can effectively fulfill their senior loved one’s nutritional requirements. 

Changing Nutritional Needs

As people age, they undergo several physiological changes. Their nutritional intake should reflect or mitigate the effects of aging on the body. For example, people tend to experience a natural decrease in energy expenditure as they age, which means seniors require fewer daily calories to maintain their weight. Seniors may also experience nervous system changes, muscle and bone atrophy, and decreased kidney function. Some of these effects can be minimized through nutrition. For example, getting adequate doses of vitamin D and calcium can boost your loved one’s bone health. 

Poor nutrition can lead to serious health conditions. Seniors who want to remain healthy as they age can benefit in a variety of ways when they receive professional non-medical home care. Palm Desert, California, Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one accomplish daily tasks, prevent illness, and focus on living a healthier and more fulfilling life.

Reasons for Malnutrition

Many seniors experience malnutrition, and many of them don’t even realize it. Severe cases of malnutrition like scurvy are rare. However, millions of seniors develop a mild form of malnutrition, which can cause chronic drowsiness, loss of appetite, and other symptoms. Mild malnutrition is often caused by the way seniors experience food as they age. Dental issues like tooth loss or denture discomfort can limit their food options. The efficacy of taste buds diminishes with age, which can make foods taste bland or bitter. Many seniors experience gastrointestinal discomfort when they eat healthy foods like fruits and vegetables, which makes them less likely to get their daily vitamins. Even those who follow a healthy diet may have a difficult time fulfilling their daily quota because aging bodies are less efficient at absorbing nutrients. 

Common Nutrient Deficiencies

There are certain nutrients seniors are likely to lack in their daily diet. Vitamin B12 is one of the most common. Seniors can find B12 in fish, milk, and eggs. Calcium is responsible for bone health, and when seniors don’t get enough, the body leaches the mineral out of their bones. Dietary sources of calcium include dairy products and vegetables like broccoli and kale. 

For bone health, seniors can’t just rely on calcium. If the body doesn’t have an adequate supply of vitamin D, calcium absorption will be negatively impacted. The body produces vitamin D when exposed to the sun. It’s also found in certain foods like yogurts, milk, and cereals. Many seniors are advised to take a vitamin D supplement, as it’s one of the most difficult vitamins to get via diet. 

Make sure your senior loved one eats healthy foods each day by hiring a professional caregiver to cook nutritious meals. In Palm Desert, California, home care agencies can be a great boon to seniors. With the help of the caregivers at Home Care Assistance, your aging loved one can lead a happier and healthier life. We offer a revolutionary program called the Balanced Care Method, which encourages seniors to eat nutritious foods, exercise and socialize regularly, and focus on other lifestyle factors that increase life expectancy.

What Should Seniors Eat Every Day?

To get adequate nutrition, seniors need to know if they have any deficiencies, which is why it’s essential to have regular medical checkups. The doctor will let your loved one know whether he or she needs any adjustments in nutritional intake. Most seniors are advised to follow a dietary regimen that includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, low-fat dairy, and oils containing monounsaturated fats.

Family caregivers do not always have the time or ability to meet their senior loved ones’ nutritional needs. Families who need additional assistance caring for an elderly loved one should consider hiring a professional caregiver. Palm Desert, California, seniors and their families trust in Home Care Assistance to provide high-quality in-home care on an as-needed basis. Our caregivers take pride in helping seniors remain healthy while promoting their quality of life. Call us at (760) 345-0001 for a free in-home consultation.

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