Seniors who have been discharged from the hospital do not always have guidance and follow-up on how to get proper nutrition.
Caregivers should work nutrition into their care plan and be knowledgeable about nutrition guidelines for seniors, and the different factors that affect dietary intake and nutrient absorption.
Diet and nutrition needs change as you age. The three principles below will help your loved one to eat healthily.
1. Dietary Guidelines for Older Adults (Source: National Institute on Aging)
The USDA Food Patterns Plan recommends that individuals over 50 eat a variety of healthy foods from the following:
2. Be Aware of Individual Nutrition Concerns
Individuals with high cholesterol, diabetes, or malnutrition may need to be extra cautious with their diets and follow more strict nutrition guidelines.
- High Cholesterol
- Eat foods with omega-3s such as fish, nuts, and avocados. Stay away from foods that are high in saturated fat such as margarine, hamburgers, and fried foods.
- Restrict or eliminate alcohol use to maintain optimal glucose levels. Seniors with diabetes are more likely to be nutrient deficient in vitamins B1, B12, C, D, folate, calcium, zinc, and magnesium. Make sure to offer foods full of these nutrients.
- Loss of appetite or difficulty swallowing can make older individuals susceptible to malnutrition. Add snacks like dried fruit and nuts throughout the day to add nutrients. Add herbs and spices to meals to give food flavor without added salt.
3. Factors Affecting Dietary Intake and Nutrient Absorption
Many factors may affect an individual’s dietary intake and nutrient absorption with age.
- Difficulty swallowing or lack of mobility can make eating and enjoying food more difficult.
- Medication, depression, and isolation can cause a loss of appetite or change the way foods taste.
- Older adults may not absorb nutrients properly because of slower metabolism.
As our bodies age, our daily eating habits change. Older individuals can make minor adjustments to continue enjoying foods and beverages.
Home Care Tip
Many seniors discharged from the hospital neglect their diet simply because they can’t transport themselves to purchase groceries. A professional caregiver from Caregivers By WholeCare can assist with trips to and from the grocery store and meal preparation. Call Us – We can Help! 615-422-7549