In the senior years, the body changes how it processes food, which can cause diminished appetite and a slower metabolism. Health conditions and some medications may also cause your aging loved one to eat less, which means the food he or she does eat must be nutritious. These vital nutrients can prevent or alleviate several health conditions, allowing your loved one to get the most out of the golden years.
Calcium and Vitamin D
Calcium strengthens bones and teeth and aids in nerve and cardiovascular function. Consuming foods rich in calcium, such as yogurt, cottage cheese, and low-fat milk, is a great way to get the benefits of the nutrient. Vitamin D helps the body absorb the calcium that’s consumed, which is why many products high in calcium are enriched with vitamin D.
Seniors with high blood pressure must consume plenty of potassium, an electrolyte that counteracts salt consumption by reducing fluid in the body. Excess fluid raises blood pressure levels. Bananas, sweet potatoes, tomato paste, and orange juice are all good sources of potassium.
A professional caregiver can be a fantastic source of information on nutrition and how your loved one can live a healthier lifestyle. Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same type of senior home care. Wellesley families can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide individualized care plans to meet your elderly loved one’s unique care needs. Our holistic Balanced Care Method was designed to help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and our Cognitive Therapeutics Method offers mentally stimulating activities that can stave off cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia.
Vitamin B12 breaks down glucose into fuel for the body to use. This vitamin is crucial because it helps in the production of myelin, a protective coating around the brain cells. Some studies suggest a lack of myelin may contribute to cognitive problems in seniors. It’s estimated 20 percent of seniors don’t get enough vitamin B12, which may be because stomach acid is necessary to break down the vitamin from food products. If your loved one takes antacids, he or she may not produce enough stomach acid. Taking vitamin B12 supplements or shots and including low-fat beef, organ meats, clams, and fortified cereal in the diet can provide the vitamin B12 your loved one needs.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
A growing body of research is focused on the problems inflammation causes in the body. Inflammation increases the risk of heart disease, cognitive disorders, and some types of cancer. Omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation throughout the body and aid in insulin resistance and heart health. Salmon, almonds, and flaxseeds are great sources of omega-3 fatty acids.
If your loved one has difficulty shopping for food or preparing nutritious meals, consider adding a professional caregiver to your family’s caregiving team. 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.
Most people don’t include enough fiber in their diet. Fiber is essential for maintaining steady blood sugar levels, keeping your loved one regular, and helping him or her feel full. Eating a bowl of oatmeal topped with diced berries for breakfast provides 20 percent of the recommended daily value of fiber.
Lutein and Zeaxanthin
Seniors are at increased risk for developing eye disorders that can lead to visual problems and blindness. Cataracts, glaucoma, retinopathy, and macular degeneration can all cause visual impairment. Lutein and zeaxanthin are antioxidants the body deposits in high amounts in the macula. Getting enough lutein and zeaxanthin can prevent or slow many eye disorders. A 2007 Harvard Medical School study found eating fruits and vegetables with these nutrients significantly lowered the risk of age-related macular degeneration. Egg yolks, spinach, kiwi fruit, melon, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage are all high in lutein and zeaxanthin.
Aging in place can present a few unique challenges for older adults. Some only require part-time assistance with exercise or meal preparation, while others are living with serious illnesses and benefit more significantly from receiving live-in care. Wellesley, MA, Home Care Assistance are leaders in the elderly in-home care industry for good reason. We tailor our care plans based on each senior’s individual needs, our caregivers continue to receive updated training in senior care as new developments arise, and we also offer comprehensive care for seniors with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and Parkinson’s. Trust your loved one’s care to the professionals at Home Care Assistance. Reach out to one of our compassionate Care Managers today at (781) 239-0060.