Nutrition for Seniors: Celebrating National Food Month
This month is National Food Month, and with food and nutrition being one of the most important aspects of a senior’s life, we see senior living facilities participating in it to make a difference. Emeritus Senior Living, which has numerous locations in the state of Texas and across the nation, has vowed to provide 10,000 meals in 60 days to seniors around the country, no matter which facility they’re located in.
Excited to not only provide nutrition for seniors, Emeritus also knows that they’ll be providing much more. You see, sometimes all it takes is a friendly face to boost morale, to get over a minor illness, and to just be happy. We know that seniors miss their families, or feel like they’ve lost their independence, but by showing them that we care, we can make a substantial difference.
There are many health risks for seniors that can arise if they’re not getting the nutrition they need. They can become very weak and lose the urge to do any sort of physical activity, which leads to numerous other problems such as brittle bones, also known as Osteoporosis. Lack of nutrition for seniors can also lead to depression and immune diseases because they’re not getting the boost from the vitamins they should be getting. And they especially need good nutrition if they’re on certain medications or recovering from a surgery.
Effects of Nutrition
Nutrition doesn’t only affect a senior’s physical state, but it also affects their mental and emotional state. If they’re not eating right, they probably aren’t feeling too good about themselves. The danger in that is that they may get trapped in this depressed state, not wanting to eat at all, or always wanting to be alone.
Healthy foods help a senior in many ways; certain foods help improve their memory, while others make them stronger. Some help them get over illnesses, and all of them can make them happy.
If you have noticed a difference in your loved one’s appetite, and you’re worried about the level of nutrition they’re receiving, here’s how you can encourage them to get healthy again:
Pack in the nutrients
Most of us will think that the bigger the portion size, the better the meal will fill them, but unless it’s all fruits and vegetables, will they receive the necessary vitamins and immune boosters they really need? Don’t worry so much about the portion size, just make sure that if they’re eating small amounts that what they’re eating is filled with what they need. Try to include food such as avocados and healthy dressings like olive oil to add a bit more to the meal without overwhelming them.
Get into a schedule
One of the best things you can do when your loved one isn’t eating enough, is get them into a rhythm of a consistent schedule. Give them a routine to get used to and expect, their bodies will adjust to it and appreciate it. Make sure you start out gradually, you don’t want the schedule to be too demanding that it throws them off and makes them dislike the idea. You can start by giving them a drink or a small snack during the meal time that they have been missing, and eventually make it into a full meal.
Make it a meal with friends
Especially if your senior has been spending more and more time alone, it’s important to encourage them to see the people they care about, it’ll help boost their spirits. Whether it’s their longtime friends, or family members, such as their beloved grandkids, making the meals a get together can give them something to look forward to. They’ll talk and won’t even realize that they’re eating because they’re having such a great time!
Along with the above tips you should also keep in mind what medication they are taking and help manage them along with the food. The best thing to do may be to either research the medication for the side effects and any sort of food requirements, or speak with your loved one’s doctor about what he recommends for nutrition for seniors on medication. If you don’t have complete control of their diet because they’re in a facility, take some time to meet with the caretakers to see what nutrition they’re getting and if they need more.