Nutrition is all about eating a balanced and healthy diet so your body has all the fuel it needs with the right nutrients to stay healthy and function properly.
However, as you age, your body and life change. These changes tend to alter what your body does or does not need. For example, you may need to consume fewer calories, get more calcium, or more protein.
No matter our age, good nutrition is always important. Proper nutrition can help you control your weight and give you the energy you need. It also may help prevent diseases such as osteoporosis, high blood pressure, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and certain cancers.
Here are a few issues aging adults may face while trying to maintain a balanced and nutritious diet:
• Changes in your home life. Maybe you’ve relocated to an independent living center, or perhaps you have recently lost a spouse or a sibling you lived with; this can disrupt who may be preparing the meals. It may even cause a sense of loneliness, which may take away your appetite. Look into having meals at a nearby community center, or church or invite friends over for dinner.
• Limited mobility. It’s not uncommon for seniors and aging adults to begin to experience limited mobility to some extent. This could be from a variety of health problems or as simple as balance issues, which can cause you to be unsteady when preparing meals. Someone with arthritis may have trouble preparing meals as well. If an illness is making it harder for you to cook, check with your doctor. They have recommendations to find ways to make the task easier. You also may consider outsourcing that task to a service, such as Brighter Living Services, that would be able to aid you in meal preparation.
• Change in taste or smell. It’s not uncommon for aging adults to be on at least one or two types of medications. Unfortunately, a common side effect is a change in the way food tastes or smells, or in some cases, a complete loss of appetite. This can make it extremely difficult to maintain a nutritious diet. If you’re having trouble smelling and tasting your food, try adding color and texture. If you aren’t eating enough, add some healthy snacks throughout the day to help you get more nutrients and calories.
• Difficulty swallowing or chewing. Whether you prefer softer, smoother foods because you have dentures, or you’ve had a severe health problem, which results in difficulty swallowing, you should always talk to your doctor if you have trouble swallowing or chewing. By tackling the issue head-on, you are more likely to avoid serious problems. It can be a simple as a referral to a speech therapist to evaluate what may be going on.
It’s essential to be proactive about maintaining a nutritious diet. Be sure to drink enough liquids, so you don’t get dehydrated. Stay physically active. Eat foods that give you lots of nutrients without a lot of extra calories. By tackling any issues that may arise and following these simple tips, you can maintain a nutritious diet and improve your overall health and well-being.