We all know the importance of following a healthy diet, yet knowing and doing are frequently worlds apart. For seniors, it’s all the more important to avoid the temptations of making unhealthy food choices – and, typically more difficult. For many older adults, lifestyle choices are subject to multiple factors:
- Prescription medication side effects that affect taste and/or appetite
- Loss of family and friends, making mealtime a solitary time
- Absence of interest in cooking for just one
- As well as others
Yet there is one predominant – but little mentioned – reason for unhealthy eating in older adults: financial restrictions. Seniors with limited funds might find it difficult to afford fresh, healthy foods, which many times cost much more than a fast food meal or can of soup. These nutrition tips for seniors from the National Council on Aging might help:
- Bear in mind that sticking to a wholesome diet can significantly improve health, with the possibility of preventing doctor visits and hospitalizations – saving seniors money over time.
- See if an older adult you love is qualified to receive SNAP, a government program that covers cost for fresh foods like vegetables and fruits. Go to BenefitsCheckUp.org to check eligibility. The average benefit to seniors is $100/month.
- Look at the senior’s local Meals on Wheels program, which offers nutritious meals to older adults, with the added benefit of a friendly volunteer who will deliver the food and enhance socialization.
- If wasting fresh food is a concern for a senior who lives alone, frozen vegetables and fruit are an excellent option, making it possible for convenient preparation of individual-sized portions.
Keep the following in mind to make sure your older family members are making the best food choices:
- Review the USDA’s ChooseMyPlate for seniors with particular dietary and exercise recommendations for those 65 and older.
- Strive for an assortment of colors, particularly brightly-colored foods such as tomatoes, carrots, peppers, eggplant, pumpkin, etc.
- Incorporate lean proteins, whole grains, and low-fat dairy foods, keeping sodium and sugar to a minimum while ensuring plenty of high fiber and nutrients which can be especially important in aging, most notably vitamin D.
Turn to the aging care specialists at Compassionate Nursing Services for lots more strategies to help the seniors you love make and keep good nutrition habits. We are always available to help with grocery shopping, meal planning and preparation, and ensuring the home is filled with an abundance of healthy and balanced food choices, as well as sharing mealtimes with older adults to make them more fulfilling. We will even tidy up the kitchen afterwards! Call us at 314-432-4312 to find out more about our top-rated senior home care in St. Louis and the surrounding areas.