Many of today's common chronic conditions worsen when the diet is poor. Type II diabetes requires a person to eat plenty of vegetables, lean meats, and fiber-rich grains while avoiding sugary foods. People with high blood pressure should limit sodium intake and avoid processed foods. The risk of certain cancers increases when you eat fatty, red meats.
Malnutrition is a problem with many elderly men and women. Today's Dietitian reported on a study of 3,209 senior citizens living in Pennsylvania. Of those seniors, just over 56 percent were found to be in danger of malnutrition and just under 6 percent were already dealing with malnutrition.
Why Does Malnutrition Happen?
When a parent has a chronic condition, required medications may cause nausea. Your parents may not eat enough to provide the necessary amount of calories for their activity levels. A diet of only processed foods is just as unhealthy as not eating enough.
With age comes a lack of interest or even ability to cook healthy meals. Mincing vegetables is difficult when you have arthritis in the wrist or fingers. Gout can make it hard to stand for any amount of time. Worsening eyesight makes it hard to read labels. A diet that lacks in vitamins or minerals leads to malnutrition.
Changes to cellular health can make the taste buds less effective. Your parent may not like the taste of certain foods. Cells in the nose also change and may make it harder to smell foods, which also impacts taste. This may limit what your parent enjoys eating. How can you tell if your parents are at risk of malnutrition?
What's Their Diet Like?
Go through your parent's cupboards, refrigerator, and freezer. What do you see for foods? If your parent is eating lots of processed items, there could be a problem. If the fridge is packed with sugary yogurts and nothing else, it's also a warning sign. If you find a lot of fresh vegetables, fruits, and lean meats, they're doing well.
Cupboards should be packed with whole grains like barley and quinoa. Dried legumes like lentils and chickpeas are also good. You don't want to see canned or packaged soups, sugary snacks, and fatty foods like potato chips.
There's an easy way to make sure your parent eats the right foods and stays hydrated. Call a home care agency and discuss food preparation services. Caregivers cook meals for your parent. Caregivers can also take your mom or dad shopping. They'll even work with them, your parent's doctor, or you to plan nutritious weekly menus. Talk to a home care agency in your area to find out more.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering Home Health Care in Pelham, AL, please contact the caring staff at Senior Legacy Care today. Call us at (205) 380-7418.
Susan Smith, Owner
Susan Smith is the owner of Senior Legacy, an independent non-medical senior in home care business.... Read More...