Managing Changes in Nutritional Needs in the Elderly

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Dietary needs change as people age. Seniors may require fewer calories than younger individuals, but they still need to stick to a vitamin-rich diet. Due to changing medical needs, they may also have to remove certain foods from their diet. Here are a few ways caregivers can help their senior loved ones manage their new nutritional needs.

Watch Out for Nutritional Deficiencies

Some nutritional deficiencies are common among seniors. For example, many seniors lack fiber, which can cause gastrointestinal distress and impair the body’s ability to absorb nutrients. Without an adequate dose of healthy fiber, seniors lose muscle mass and heal more slowly. Older women often lack calcium and vitamin D, which are essential for bone health. Be conscious of these common deficiencies, and make sure your loved one gets an adequate dose of these important vitamins, nutrients, and food groups.

Consider hiring a professional caregiver if your senior loved one needs help preparing healthy meals to meet his or her daily nutritional requirements. In Cincinnati, Ohio, 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.

Pack in as Many Nutrients as Possible 

One of the biggest dietary changes experienced by seniors is a decreased appetite. Because most seniors eat a limited amount of calories, caregivers should make sure the foods their loved one eats are packed with nutrients and vitamins. Instead of letting your loved one eat snack foods with minimal caloric value, give him or her small portions of superfoods. Foods such as sweet potatoes, walnuts, broccoli, spinach, and papayas contain high levels of multiple vitamins and minerals.

Consult with a Doctor

While it’s important for caregivers to anticipate potential nutritional deficiencies, getting advice from a doctor is even more valuable. During annual checkups, ask the doctor about your loved one’s dietary needs. Your loved one may be taking medications that affect the absorption of nutrients, or a new health condition might mean he or she has to cut out gluten or dairy. Professional advice can help caregivers craft a specific diet plan. 

Seniors with serious health conditions often need help preparing healthy meals. Performing daily tasks while simultaneously managing the symptoms of a serious illness can be challenging for seniors. The Cincinnati live-in care experts at Home Care Assistance are available 24/7 to make sure your loved one has the care he or she needs to remain safe and comfortable while aging in place.

Encourage Getting Blood Tests

Blood tests may be a part of a senior’s annual checkup. If not, they can get them from a registered nutritionist. These tests can determine whether your loved one has any specific nutritional deficiencies. If so, you can alter your loved one’s diet to compensate for the nutrients he or she lacks. Seeking the advice of a nutritionist can be very helpful for caregivers who are having a difficult time developing a good meal plan for their loved one. A nutritionist can provide recipes, guidance, and easy-to-follow nutritional plans. 

Keep the Fridge Stocked with Healthy Snacks

Seniors who still live by themselves may not want to cook meals every day. Make sure your loved one is always supplied with a wide assortment of healthy snacks. Fresh fruits and vegetables are a great alternative to snacks like chips and pretzels. If you provide healthy snack options, your loved one is more likely to follow a nutritious diet when you aren’t around.

Managing your loved one’s changing nutritional needs is one of the many ways to ensure he or she enjoys a high quality of life. Seniors who want to remain healthy as they age can benefit in a variety of ways when they receive professional home care. Cincinnati, Ohio, 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. To create a comprehensive in-home care plan for your elderly loved one, give us a call at 513.891.2273 today.

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