Elderly Nutrition – Special Considerations

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 10,670
    Mary Alexander with Home Instead Senior Care provides some tips for making sure your senior loved ones are getting proper nutrition. This video will focus on some special dietary considerations.

    Nutrition for SeniorsSpecial ConsiderationsMary Alexander: Hi! I'm Mary Alexander from Home Instead Senior Care and today I'm going to provide some tips for making sure your senior loved ones are getting proper nutrition.

    Now, I'm going to discuss some special dietary considerations. If your senior loved ones can't get to the grocery store or shop alone, there are a number of possibilities for help, depending on their living situation, finances, and needs.

    First, many grocery stores have delivery services. You can check on the internet or give a call to see if a local grocery store will accept phone or internet orders. Another option is that either you or your parent could ask a friend, neighborhood teen, or college student if they would be willing to do the shopping in exchange for sharing a meal. This solves two needs at once; buying groceries, and providing dining companionship for your senior loved one.

    There are also professional cooks who will prepare nutritionally balanced meals often for a week at a time, which can then be frozen. They can usually accommodate special diets. Check your local telephone book, Senior Center or the Internet to find a personal chef in your area.

    Setting up homecare services or professional firm is another option. Many of these service providers can do the shopping and meal preparation for a fee. Meals on Wheels is a great option which provides nutritious meals to people who are homebound, disabled, or would otherwise be unable to maintain their dietary needs.

    The daily delivery generally consists of two meals; a nutritionally balanced hot meal to eat at lunch, and a dinner consisting of a cold sandwich and milk along with varying side dishes. In an effort both to cover costs, and to maintain the elders' sense of dignity, the programs charge a small fee based on the individual's ability to pay.

    If it's companionship that would make meals more enjoyable for your senior loved one, there are a number of options to consider. First, contact the local Senior Center, YMCA, congregation, or high school, and ask about senior meal programs.

    Second, encourage your senior to take a class, volunteer, or go on an outing all of which can lead to new friendships and dining buddies. Your parents should also invite friends or acquaintances to share potluck lunches and dinners on rotating basis. Not only will it add variety to all of their diets, it's a great way to meet new people and broaden interests.

    If your parents are a distance away from you, suggest adult daycare centers which provide both companionship and nutritious meals for seniors who are lonely or unable to prepare their own meals.

    Another factor that requires special attention is seniors who suffer from diabetes. According to the American Diabetes Association, more than 18% or approximately 8.

    6 million Americans age 60 and older have diabetes. The prevalence of this disease increases with age, and the risk of developing type 2 diabetes also increase with age.

    Seniors face unique diabetes challenges. For those with type 2 diabetes, age causes a decline in insulin production and an increase in glucose intolerance. Older Americans are also more likely to have complicated conditions such as retinopathy, hypertension, and kidney problems.

    If your parent has diabetes, you might be wondering what special diets they need to follow. Well, unlike a diet that involves what you can't eat, nutritional management of diabetes usually involves dietary changes that balance moderation, carbohydrate control, and healthy eating choices.

    According to dlife.

    com, a site for people with diabetes who need to take off some weight, those dietary changes typically involve both calorie, and carbohydrate control. A Registered Dietician, preferably one who is also a Certified Diabetes Educator, a CDE or is experienced in diabetes care is an essential resource for learning more about individualized menu planning, and good choices to help your senior loved one best manage his or her diabetes.

    The good news is that the best diet for a person with diabetes is really the same kind of healthy eating that is best for everyone. Like the general population, people with diabetes need to focus on Whole Foods that are high in fiber, and nutrient dense. This includes virtually all plant foods, most dairy products, lean meat, poultry, and fish. Conversely, diabetics need to keep highly processed foods which are often full of refined flour, and sugar to a minimum.

    The internet is loaded with lots of helpful information on healthy senior nutrition. We recommend starting with government sites such as the National Institute for Health, and the US National Library of Medicine. It's always a good idea to check in with local and state government agencies as they can help direct you and your senior loved one to reputable services available in the local area.

    Helping your senior loved ones maintain proper eating and diet habits are two ways to help them maintain their quality of life and improve their overall health. In the end, it's about being able to enjoy each other's company for a while longer.