Senior Care Blog Wayland and Weston

Which Beverages are Best for your Aging Loved One?

By Denise Roskamp

Whether you have a senior care aide or act as the family caregiver, you will undoubtedly think a lot about what your aging loved one puts into his or her body. You will know that they should eat lots of fruits, lots of vegetables, lots of whole grains, and lots of fish and lean meats instead of red meat. You will know they should generally avoid junk food (although an occasional treat is perfectly okay), and you will know that protein and calcium are both very important parts of our diet as we age.

But even after all that work of coming up with the best diet for your senior, you probably didn’t think about one thing: the drinks.

Often when we come up with an effective diet plan, we think only about food. Thusly, it might be surprising to learn that beverages are a very important part of a diet as well! Different types of soft drinks and sugary beverages can take just as big of a toll on the body as a greasy burger or sugar-filled milkshake can, so it is important to remember the drinks when you are creating a diet for your loved one.

Here are some of the dos and don’ts of making the right beverage choices for your loved one – and for yourself!

  • DO drink more water – This is the most important beverage of all. In fact, you don’t even have to read the rest of the list, you can stop right here! Replacing some of your more unhealthy sodas and other drinks during the day with water can make a huge difference in your health. You will find that your loved one will have more energy, and that they may even lose some weight if necessary! Have them drink as much water as they can/would like per day (there is no longer any set number of ounces they should drink for it to be effective, but it should be enough to keep them from becoming dehydrated), and replace some of their other drinks with water. They will feel a difference in no time!
  • DON’T drink sugary sodas/soft drinks – This is step might be a bit tougher. Everyone loves a good Root Beer or Mountain Dew, but these drinks are chock full of sugar and caffeine, which can really stress out the body! Try replacing some, if not all, of your loved one’s sodas with water or another healthier drink. This should help them to stay fit and to feel better.
  • DO drink milk – Women, especially, need more calcium as they age, so that they do not put themselves at risk for things like osteoporosis. Drinking a glass or two of milk each day is an easy way to keep osteoporosis at bay. Try to choose a low-fat or non-fat milk, though, if you can!
  • DON’T forget to read the label on fruit juices – Fruit juices would be a great healthy drink alternative…if most of them didn’t contain so much added sugar. If your loved one wants to try replacing some of their sodas with fruit juice, make sure the fruit juice is natural, and that it isn’t just based on a concentrate with lots of added sugar. They might taste better that way, but they completely undo all your progress!

When you and/or your senior care aide sit down to plan out a healthy diet for your aging loved one, don’t forget to consult the list above and factor drinks into your decision!