With the risk of malnutrition, heart disease, osteoporosis, high blood pressure and even cancer common among the elderly, the first step in prevention is proper nutrition, especially for a senior living alone.
Getting the right nutritious and tasty foods into their diet can be a difficult process. However, with these few simple steps, it can become much easier to improve nutrition for the senior living alone.
According to 2010 Dietary Guidelines, individuals between the ages of 60-74 years old should be consuming at least 3 ½ cups of fruits and vegetables daily, and partaking in a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise multiple times throughout the week. The amount of exercise will vary based on a case by case basis, depending on the condition of your senior. A daily stroll in the park for a half hour would be a great way to get exercise into their day, and would be a great way to spend some time with your loved one.
Tangible ways to make a difference:
- If possible, create a weekly meal plan and go grocery shopping with your loved one; this ensures that you know they are getting the proper nutrients and variety, which can lead to a healthy diet, and it also takes out the possible complication of deciding what meal to make daily. A special bonus is the time you get to spend together in a productive and loving way.
Key vitamins to look for:
- One easy rule of thumb to make sure they are getting the proper nutrients in their diet is to remind them to have a variety of colors in the fruits and vegetables they are eating. Various colors are related to different vitamins and minerals contained in that particular food, and by eating many different colors you can ensure that they are on their way to a balanced diet through fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Seafood contains bountiful amounts of vitamins and minerals, especially Omega-3 minerals, which are known for improving brain health. Try to get your loved ones to eat some type of seafood at least twice a week.
- Fresh fruits and vegetables are the best source of many vitamins and minerals, especially fiber. Five servings of fruit and vegetables will provide a stable foundation of a healthy well-being for your senior.
- With the risk of osteoporosis increasing as we age, the elderly require further amounts of calcium in their diet. However, contrary to popular belief, calcium not only limited to dairy products, but also in dark green leafy vegetables, nuts, calcium-enriched cereals and canned fish.
- If you are thinking of adding supplementary vitamins to your loved ones diet, it is recommended that they take vitamins D, calcium, B12 and B6. B12 vitamins are often found in animal products such as meat, eggs, milk and fish. The combination of these vitamins will guide your elderly relative on the right path towards good health.
- Instead of unneeded salt, substitute in flavor throughherbs and spices. Excess salt is a key contributor to high blood pressure, so even by making the small step of taking away the salt shaker from their home, you are contributing to their healthier lifestyle.
- Most importantly, consult your senior’s doctor for the best nutritional advice tailored to them.