Though it’s important to eat right at any age, there are specific nutrients seniors need for good health. Because many seniors have diminished appetites or dietary restrictions, it’s important that the food they eat is optimized for nutrition. Check your aging loved one’s diet and make sure it contains enough of these key nutrients that are necessary for seniors.
Calcium & Vitamin D
Many seniors are deficient in calcium and vitamin D because with age, the intestines don’t absorb calcium as efficiently and the skin loses some of its ability to synthesize vitamin D from the sun. Calcium and vitamin D are important for healthy bones, and seniors are at high risk for bone loss. Yogurt, milk, fortified nut milk, and canned fish are all good sources of calcium. Make sure the milk your loved one drinks is fortified with vitamin D, or consider talking with his or her doctor about a supplement.
According to the American Heart Association, 69.1 percent of men and 67.9 percent of women over the age of 60 have high blood pressure. High blood pressure can put additional strain on the heart and kidneys, which may contribute to cardiovascular and kidney disease. Getting enough potassium each day can lower blood pressure levels. Fresh fruits, vegetables, and beans are all high in potassium. Cantaloupe, avocados, and bananas are especially high in this essential nutrient. Make sure the canned goods your loved one eats are “no sodium” or “low sodium” varieties, as the additional salt may increase swelling and blood pressure levels.
If your loved one has difficulty handling high blood pressure or other health conditions, a professional home caregiver can be a wonderful asset. Some seniors only require help with a few daily tasks so they can maintain their independence. However, those living with serious illnesses may need more extensive assistance. Luckily, there is professional live-in care Jefferson County, CO, seniors can rely on. Home can be a safer and more comfortable place for your loved one to live with the help of an expertly trained and dedicated live-in caregiver.
A study published in the March 2010 edition of Nutrients estimates 20 percent of seniors are deficient in vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 is essential in maintaining the function of nerve cells and in the production of red blood cells. Without enough vitamin B12, your loved one may experience:
- Shortness of breath
- Tingling sensations
- Poor balance
- Memory loss
Make sure your loved one gets enough vitamin B12 each day by including fortified cereals, lean meats, eggs, and fish in his or her diet. Because vitamin B12 is found in animal products, talk with a doctor about a supplement if your loved one follows a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle.
If your loved one experiences any of the symptoms listed above, make sure he or she gets a thorough medical examination. If the symptoms are due to a more serious condition that makes it unsafe for your loved one to age in place alone, help is available. The type of home care 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.
Magnesium plays a role in more than 300 body functions, including keeping the immune system strong and the cardiovascular system functioning properly. Though magnesium is found in a variety of foods, the cooking process causes magnesium to be lost, so it’s best to aim for fresh fruits and vegetables and non-roasted nuts. Dried figs, bananas, avocados, spinach, and pumpkin seeds are all high in magnesium.
Good nutrition is especially important for seniors, so if your loved one has difficulty shopping for food and preparing nutritious meals, consider hiring a professional caregiver. In Jefferson County, in-home care agencies can be a great boon to seniors. With the help of the caregivers at Home Care Assistance, your aging loved one can lead a happier and healthier life. We offer a revolutionary program called the Balanced Care Method, which encourages seniors to eat nutritious foods, exercise and socialize regularly, and focus on other lifestyle factors that increase life expectancy. If your loved one needs help with the challenges of aging, call one of our compassionate Care Managers today at (303) 987-5992.