Paying attention to some of the obvious signs of ageing is easy. After all, it is not possible to ignore things like memory problems, frailty and mobility issues. Some of the less obvious factors, such as nutrition, are just as important, if not more. If that is the last thing on your mind, you need to start paying attention.
According to many home care experts, many people ignore elderly nutritional requirements. As a result, they don’t ensure their loved ones get the required nutrients. This could lead to a host of problems, which are easily avoidable when the following tips are taken into consideration:
Packing in protein is important – protein is the most critical component of muscle. Because muscle loss naturally increases with ageing, especially after 60, protein deficiencies in elderly individuals can harm health. Older people need to eat more protein, just so that they can counteract the loss of muscle mass in their bodies, i.e. the process of sarcopenia.
Fruits and veggies – a lot of adults fail to eat 5 fruits/vegetables a day, which is an absolute mistake. Take it from Japan – health experts there recommend that older individuals have at least 17 portions of fruits and vegetables for good health each day. And the more varied the food, the better the nutrient intake.
Getting enough Calcium – Calcium is crucial for good bone health. With age, humans absorb less and less Calcium. Thus, an elderly individual needs to eat more Calcium-rich foods. It makes for an important addition to their diet.
Vitamins are important as well – older people often have vitamin D deficiency, which can exacerbate a host of conditions. That is why they need to eat some oily fish, like trout, mackerel, sardines or salmon. They are all very rich in Vitamin D. B-12 deficiency (Folate) is also a common occurrence in old people. This vitamin is present in dairy, eggs and meat. If adults don’t eat enough of these foods, they should consider supplements.
- Eating more iron-rich foods – every elder requires adequate iron intake. But there needs to be a fine balance, because too much iron creates stomach issues, whereas too little iron can lead to anaemia. That is why elders should be focused on foods that are rich in iron. The examples include leafy green vegetables, poultry and dried fruits.
Less sugar and salt – older adults can experience many problems if their salt intake is too great. Because salt sensitivity increases with age, it is important to actively limit the amount of salt that old individuals consume. Pretty much the same goes for sugar as well. Adults need not avoid it entirely, though they should take active steps to minimise it. Sugar has been proven to be damaging to the skin, and can also lead to diabetes and kidney disease.
Less alcohol and more water – the body’s mechanism of telling us we feel thirsty and essentially nudging us to drink more water get worse with age. That is why adults are much more likely to get dehydrated without even realizing it. At the same time, adults need to be more mindful of the amount of alcohol they consume. The problem with alcoholic drinks is that they can take years off of the lifespan of an old individual. Every caregiver should stay on top of limiting alcohol intake while ensuring the person takes enough water to stay hydrated.
Nutrition is an important aspect of elderly care, which every caregiver needs to be more mindful of.