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The Important Role Nutrition Plays in Senior Home Care

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Nutrition is just as important to seniors as it is to any other age group. A proper diet is necessary to provide fuel for physical energy. The body needs a variety of nutrients to heal and prevent the development of different medical conditions. Taking care of an older loved one should include ensuring he or she follows an appropriate diet. 

Input vs. Output

For seniors to maintain a healthy weight, they cannot consume more calories than they burn through physical activity. Although it is not ill-advised for older adults to have an occasional sweet treat, most of their dietary intake should not come from foods that are rich in fat and sugar. Healthy fats include nuts, olive oil, and oily fish, which provide omega-3 fatty acids that are vital for cardiovascular and cognitive health. 

Some seniors need help preparing nutrient-dense meals. If your aging loved one needs occasional help with bathing, grooming, cooking, or other basic household tasks, or if you need time to attend to important personal matters, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of live-in and respite care. Lehigh Valley seniors can maintain their independence while living at home with the help of our reliable respite caregivers.

Fiber

It’s not unusual for older adults to experience constipation, which is especially common in those who live sedentary lifestyles or take narcotic medications for chronic pain management. For these reasons, your loved one’s diet should feature plenty of produce and whole grains that provide sufficient amounts of fiber for gastrointestinal health. 

Vitamins

Many older adults live with vitamin deficiencies, and a lack of B and D vitamins are of particular concern. Your loved one should get at least five servings of brightly colored fruits and vegetables each day. Fish, liver, and shellfish are also excellent sources of vitamin B12, and seniors should try to eat fish at least once each week. If your loved one cannot get 15 minutes of sun exposure each day, make sure he or she gets vitamin D through fortified, low-fat dairy products. 

Protein

Muscles need protein to remain healthy and provide the fuel for cellular replication and repair. To increase protein intake, your loved one’s diet should feature lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, legumes, and nuts. Healthy snacks might include a handful of nuts or whole-grain crackers with low-fat cheese. Protein-rich foods also serve as great resources of iron, which is lacking in many older adults. Avoid preparing meals using processed meats, as they are typically high in saturated fat and sodium. 

Calcium 

Older adults are susceptible to osteoporosis if their diet does not contain sufficient amounts of calcium. Your loved one should have three servings of low-fat or fat-free dairy products each day. Calcium-rich foods include cheese, milk, and yogurt. 

Switching to nutritious meals is just one of the many ways seniors can boost their health and stave off a wide variety of diseases. A Lehigh Valley caregiver can help your elderly loved one manage his or her health in a variety of ways. If your loved one needs encouragement to exercise more often, eat healthier foods, or socialize on a regular basis, an in-home caregiver can address these and many other health-related concerns.

Salt Intake

Many older adults are prone to retaining fluid when consuming too much salt. Fluid retention leads to high blood pressure, which increases the risk of heart attacks or strokes. Seniors should avoid eating processed foods and adding salt to season foods. 

Hydration

Older adults are prone to varied levels of dehydration due to a lack of fluid intake. Many seniors also drink caffeinated beverages, which act as natural diuretics. The body needs sufficient fluid intake for lubrication and cell function. Water, flavored water, and herbal teas can prevent your loved one from becoming dehydrated.

From preparing nutritious meals to exercising on a daily basis, older adults may need help with an array of tasks. The home care services Lehigh Valley, PA, seniors need can vary. Some need assistance a few hours a day, while others require more extensive around-the-clock assistance. At Home Care Assistance, we tailor our care plans based on each senior’s individual care needs, and the plans can be adjusted at any time. To create a customized in-home care plan for your elderly loved one, give us a call at 484-350-3874 today.

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