As we age, our bodies and nutritional requirements change. Seniors need to increase or reduce their intake of certain vitamins and minerals depending on gender, metabolism and disease management. Caloric intake changes, so to stay healthy, older adults need to make changes to ensure they meet their dietary needs.
Aging is associated with distinct changes in the body composition; most notably, decreases in fluids and lean body mass and an increase in fat storage. Changes in the body predispose older adults to dehydration, reduced metabolism, falls and injury and central weight gain. To help prevent the effects of these bodily changes, families can get involved with the senior’s nutrition by planning their meals and assessing their needs.
Assessing Senior Needs
Many of us are faced with the difficult decision of when to provide additional care for senior loved ones. Knowing how to assess potential nutritional care can provide peace of mind during the decision process of asking for help for a senior loved one. Using a combination of your five senses; Sight, Sound, Smell, Taste and Touch, families can provide an initial assessment of what a senior’s most immediate care needs might be. Read more about assessing the care needs of your loved one. Once the needs are assessed, families can begin coordinating with a senior caregiver.
Planning for Nutrition
My Plate for Older Adults was developed by nutrition experts and is geared towards those aged 70 and older as a guide to help make good nutrition choices. Seniors who do not eat the recommended portions of food each day may put themselves at risk for malnutrition. Malnutrition among seniors occurs in all settings including hospitals, care homes, and in the general community. Using My Plate for Older Adults may help reduce that risk. View the Guide to My Plate for Older Adults (2012).
In addition to the Guide to My Plate for Older Adults, Comfort Keepers'® caregivers are able to customize a meal plan which helps to cater to the senior’s dietary and nutritional needs. Once their needs are assessed, a senior caregiver can help put together a grocery list based on the senior’s preferred foods and prepare a list of meals that will help meet the nutritional needs. Additionally, senior caregivers can help to prepare and schedule meals for the senior.
Contact Comfort Keepers to see how we can help you take the next step (800) 387-2415.