Our bodies are constantly changing; as we age, we notice these changes more and more. Older adults become less active and more prone to sickness, which can be attributed to the wear and tear their bodies have endured over the years. Improper nutrition is also a factor that may lead to the development of heart disease, diabetes and high cholesterol.
Why is it important for seniors to understand nutrition and maintain a proper diet?
What Changes Impact Nutrition?
According to 2012 data from the American Academy of Family Physicians, 3.7 million seniors are malnourished. Malnourishment is the result of a lack of nutrients. Elderly individuals are at particularly high risk for malnourishment because of an imbalance of vitamins A – E and an inability to absorb sufficient amounts of B12. Other factors of poor nutrition include:
- Diminished Senses: A less heightened sense of smell and the loss of taste buds as we age may lead to an overall disinterest food.
- Physical Changes: Many older individuals find themselves with a lack of energy, resulting in a low level of physical activity. This can lead to poor eating choices, like processed or fast food.
- Medication: Different medications may cause unusual side effects, such as loss of appetite or trouble digesting food.
The Importance of a Proper Diet
Throughout our lives, we hear about which foods are good and bad for you. Parents restrict their kids from eating too much sugar and hope they continue healthy eating habits into adulthood. For seniors, it can be hard to eat right without someone there to help make decisions. At Avon Health Center, we have an in-house registered dietitian who designs individual meal plans for each resident based on his or her nutritional needs.
Residents have the freedom to make meal selections based on recommendations from the dietitian that optimize their health. A well-rounded diet includes servings of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and protein with small amounts of dairy and fats. It’s also important for seniors to have sufficient amounts of calcium and Vitamin D to promote bone health!
If your loved one is seeking care from a skilled nursing facility, the staff at Avon Health Center is eager to help! Contact us today to learn more about the admission process.
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