Nutrition Matters for Seniors
— July 2nd, 2019
What are the challenges in maintaining a balance diet in most seniors? Home Care in Toronto
A balanced diet in seniors is fundamental in sustaining quality of life, promoting health, boosting resistance against illness and/or effects of chronic disease and fostering healing.
What are the challenges in maintaining a balance diet in most seniors? Seniors are at higher risk of developing malnutrition. The following are common barriers they experience as they age. Physiological changes in seniors include decline in sense of smell and taste, thus food that they normally eat would be likely less appealing, causing anorexia. Chewing also can be a challenge due to decline in jaw muscle strength, dentures and loss of teeth. Gastrointestinal change such as decreased gastric motility results in slow gastric emptying and slow absorption. Social barriers include being alone when eating, having no other help or resources doing shopping and being poor. These social challenges may result in social isolation and depression. Cognitive barrier such as forgetfulness may also cause malnutrition.
Recommended interventions to maintain a balanced diet can be complex and requires an individual assessment consisting of culture and ethnic practices towards food. It is significant to do an initial assessment to obtain baseline data such as weight, height and a week of daily intake logs. Overall assessments determine individual challenges and will guide the process of change and initiate applicable interventions. Common nutrition guides that are important to integrate in diet plans include having variety of food choices, more grains, fruits and vegetables, less sugar, salt and caffeine. Choose low fats, unsaturated fats and less processed foods. It is recommended to check the labels when you buy canned foods and check in calories.
If your senior loved one is not attaining a balanced diet, Geri Health Home Care Registered Nurses will do an in-depth assessment, to screen barriers and determine appropriate interventions. Contact Geri Health Home Care at 416-431-6266.