While watching a morning news program, a featured baker was explaining his process for making King cakes for local celebrations of Mardi Gras and Fat Tuesday that annually commemorates the beginning of the Lenten season for Christians on Ash Wednesday.
The King cake was filled with cream cheese and looked very flavorful, flaky, and festive with frosted glazes and sugar sprinkles in the standard colors of green, gold, and purple. As I pondered the idea of purchasing a King cake to share with my caregivers, staff, family, and friends, I paused to think about the lack of nutritional value of this delicious, decadent tradition.
In my life and my business, I am keenly aware of the importance of proper nutrition for the optimal function of our bodies. Unfortunately, many seniors do not consider geriatric nutrition an important component of their daily lives, and this negatively impacts their health and well-being.
It is true that our body’s metabolism slows as we grow older, and we don’t require as many calories as we once did, but this does not mean that we should skip meals or opt for fast and convenient foods to sustain us.
As a Certified Senior Care Advisor, one of the most serious concerns my caregivers and I have is related to diminished senior appetites and the subsequent lack of nutrition. Oftentimes, seniors suffer from a variety of health problems and physical issues simply because they don’t eat properly.
A healthy senior diet can combat diseases and conditions that are highly impacted by water intake and nutrition, such as dehydration, anemia, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, osteoporosis, and more.
Seniors can avoid these diseases and others with proper nutrition. However, as geriatric nutritional needs evolve with age, physiological, perceptual, and age-related changes can make it a much greater challenge.
Aging.com suggests there are 8 reasons why seniors may not eat properly:
- Decreased Sensitivity
- Medication Side Effects
- Poor Dental Health
- Lack of Finances
- Lack of Transportation
- Physical Difficulties
- Memory Loss
Seniors who experience any one or more of the above are commonly deficient in vitamins A, B, C, D, E, folic acid, calcium, and niacin. Deficiencies in these vitamins and minerals negatively impact a senior’s health in a variety of ways. Balanced meals and a healthy geriatric nutrition program can improve these deficiencies if they include specific foods that are rich in vitamins, minerals, and other vital nutrients.
The best food choices that are recommended for healthy senior diets include:
- Foods High in Omega-3 Fatty Acids: sardines, salmon, mackerel, tuna, flaxseed, soybeans, canola oil, walnuts
- Foods Rich in Calcium: milk, yogurt, cheese, leafy green vegetables, cereals fortified with calcium
- Foods Rich in Fiber: nuts, wholegrain cereal, wholegrain bread and pasta, brown rice, brown bread, fruits, and vegetables
- Foods Rich in Iron: beef, pork, poultry, seafood, nuts, spinach, dried fruit, peas, iron-fortified cereals, breads, pasta
- Foods Rich in Vitamin C: fruits, vegetables
- Foods Rich in Vitamin B12: milk, dairy, meat, poultry
- Foods Rich in Potassium: bananas, prunes, potatoes, fruits, vegetables
- Vitamin D: eggs, salmon, tuna, Vitamin D-fortified milk, cereal, yogurt, juices
- Magnesium: whole grains, nuts, fresh fruit, and vegetables
“According to a pyramid for older adults created by researchers from Tufts University, drinking eight glasses of water daily was next to physical activity in importance to health. As you age, your body’s ability to conserve water decreases, so you don’t feel thirsty as often. However, your body still needs water,” says Aging.com.
My Home Helpers® caregivers are keenly aware of geriatric nutritional needs, and they regularly offer hydration reminders, go grocery shopping, and take time to plan and prepare nutritious meals for our senior clients.
If you or a senior loved one would benefit from assistance with healthy meal planning and preparation to stay independent at home, I gladly offer a FREE Consultation to discuss and assess specific needs, so I can match the perfect caregiver to help.
We, at Home Helpers® Clearwater, are honored to have received the Home Care Pulse – Best of Home Care® Provider of Choice Award 2016-2022 and the Best of Home Care® Employer of Choice Award 2022. We proudly serve male and female seniors in Clearwater, Dunedin, Palm Harbor, Safety Harbor, Tarpon Springs, Holiday, New Port Richey, Trinity, Port Richey, Hudson, and surrounding areas. Home Helpers®…we are Making Life Easier℠ 727.942.2539