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The Shifting Nutrition Needs of Seniors

The human body has many stages where the nutrition needs may change, and old age is just one of these many stages. Freedom Home Care recognizes that seniors require a balanced diet to remain as healthy as possible, and there are certain foods that are better than others to help satisfy these changing nutrition needs.

As you age, there are a few things that happen that may call for a diet adjustment.  Your metabolism slows down and is even more pronounced if you are not as active as you could be. You burn less calories and therefore need less calories to maintain your weight.  Your digestive system also changes in a way that makes it harder to absorb nutrients from the food you eat. You also may notice that your overall appetite changes and the common cause behind that is side effects from medications. Many seniors also suffer from anxiety and depression which can either cause weight gain from comfort eating or weight loss from a lack of interest in eating.

With all these problems adding up, it’s apparent how important it is to choose the right foods to eat. The USDA provides eating plans to optimize nutrients and encourage healthy eating. They also have an adjusted plan for those that need an especially heart-healthy diet, which includes adjustments to grain portions and an increase in protein. They also suggest seniors add plenty of calcium rich foods into their diet to improve bone health. The changes in your skin allows for less Vitamin D uptake, and therefore needs to be on the list of supplements to add to your day. Vitamin B12 is also an important supplement to add into your regimen since the digestive system is less able to absorb it as we age. When it comes to calories, non-active older adults only need 1600-2000 calories per day (depending on gender).

But no matter what changes you think you need in your diet, be sure to consult your doctor first.  Adding protein could be a good thing, but if you suffer from conditions like kidney issues, the change may do more harm than good. If you are able to keep on a well-balanced and healthy diet approved by your doctor, you can expect many positive effects. People who stick with healthy diets have longer, happier lives and generally just feel better. Another great effect is the reduction of the risk of Alzheimer’s because eating healthy can sharpen the mind.

Freedom Home Care has many resources available to help get your diet where it needs to be for you or your loved one. Contact our specialists so we can customize your meal plan to fit your needs, or take a look at the rest of the senior care services we offer.

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