Elderly Nutrition Ideas
Elderly nutrition is of utmost importance as we age in order to maintain our health and quality of life. But following a nutritious diet is not always easy.
Especially for senior citizens. As we age we undergo sometimes sudden changes physically, mentally, emotionally. All of these can impact eating and nutrition. As the saying goes, "We are what we eat."
I became especially aware of this when Dad moved here from Arizona, at age 93. Particularly when he eventually moved in to live with me. He'd always been really into nutrition and healthy food and was a really good cook. But as he aged that became more difficult. It was startling to see just what he was (and was not eating) when he lived at the assisted living facility before moving in with me.
Elderly sometimes lose their appetites from a myriad of reasons, and don't eat correctly. They may not feel like eating or are simply lonely. Or depressed. They may have trouble with their teeth and trouble chewing. They may not have the energy, or are on limited budgets and buy inexpensive and non-nutritious foods. Whatever the reason, being aware of elderly nutrition is vital.
It can make an enormous difference in disease control for the heart, blood pressure, stroke, dementia, blood sugar; and for healing and maintaining all-important vision as we age. And elderly like to snack, like Dad did. But on what? Or they may enjoy good old comfort food. Well, maybe some is okay. Like a little chocolate -- there are, after all, some health benefits of chocolate. But certain comfort food can be surprisingly terrible for us.
Today's elderly may not have been eating with the awareness of nutrition and foods that we now have, and thus have developed eating habits that may have led to current health issues, or are in danger of causing others (for instance: lots of butter and other fats, a lot of
foods high in sodium
(which my Dad just loved), large amounts of dairy, sugar, canned and over-cooked foods, lots of red meat, bad carbs and starches). Plus all the easy, empty, harmful snack foods available now.
Eating and snacking with proper nutrition can make a huge impact on quality of life. For instance, my children's great-grandparents simply cut way down on sugars, fats, and junk snack foods, and began taking multiple vitamin-mineral supplements -- when they were in their mid-80's. (Under the supervision of their doctor). Within weeks they reported that they felt more energetic and happy. And had better "internal plumbing" activity. They slept better. Their cholesterol and blood pressure also improved. They lived at home, relatively healthily, until they were both in the mid-90's.
I personally believe taking a vitamin-mineral supplement is a good idea, especially since our over-used soil does not contain the same amount of nutrients as before, so even fresh food may be lacking. Dad has taken a supplement for decades. But always consult a medical professional first.
Geritol is a name we’ve known for years. Offering their world famous tonics and now a great multi-vitamin (that doubles as an excellent women’s vitamin, due to the addition of calcium and iron), Geritol is your one-stop shop for your vitamin needs. Plus, you’ll find great coupons, just by clicking the link above!
So what can you do to assure good elderly nutrition?
We address these issues in our various pages regarding elderly nutrition -- and it's great information for anyone. See list of topics below.
You may have some understanding about the basic food groups that are recommended for everyone.
From time to time the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) revises the original 1992 Food Pyramid, to an updated version. It was called MyPyramid.gov now called MyPlate. (see link at bottom of page). Their overall motto now is, "One size does not fit all."
Here's a quick review of the basic food groups:
Grains (whole grains), vegetables, fruits, milk, meat and beans, and also oils (liquid oils, nuts, some fish, olives, avocados). What you should eat depends on your age, gender, weight, exercise, and health issues. These basic food groups will help point you in the right direction of finding resources for your specific needs. Your doctor should ultimately advise you about your diet.
Besides diet, regular exercise is always recommended. It is ideal to make a goal of 20 to 30 minutes per day (which can be divided into two sessions), four days per week. Even elderly with limited mobility can usually be taught appropriate exercise. See our pages on Easy Exercise for Seniors, including what my dad does at age 97!
See more about elderly nutrition on our web site:
Surprising Sodium Facts -- I quite suddenly had to learn some very sobering sodium facts when Dad was about 94 and finally had to cut down on salt due to a bout of congestive heart failure. But there was, I found, a whole lot more to the sodium issue than just the heart, blood pressure, etc. And it could affect me too. Right now. Maybe you.
Elder Nutrition Problems -- Learn about specific nutrition problems for the elderly, why they happen, and what to do.
Why Is Nutrition Important? -- Eating correctly makes a huge difference for overall health, mental health, memory, emotions, quality of life. Our elderly have a high incidence of malnutrition. Read this important information.
Nutrition Food Values -- See our overview about Food Groups, what nutritional values they provide, and how nutrition can ward of disease.
Favorite Fruit Nutrition Facts -- Some favorite fruit nutrition facts are that fruit can get the body to practically vacuum itself out. Sort of. Not to mention that all-important age defying help. And then there’s memory…
Elderly Dietary Problems -- Elderly dietary problems can be brought on by simple, everyday changes in eating habits -- but have big-time health effects, including malnutrition, one of the common elderly issues.
Elderly Nutrition Snacks -- See our recommended snacks to just have on hand. We have loads of super-healthy (and delicious) suggestions for snackers of any age. Especially great for those who don't or can't cook, have small appetites, and snack a lot. Now you can make sure to get plenty of nutrition.
Healthy Snack Recipes -- Healthy snack recipes are becoming almost a rage these days. And we’ve got some super-delicious, super-easy, super-healthy ones for all ages. Don’t miss these!
Delicious Healthy Dessert Recipes
-- Our healthy dessert recipes are delicious and fresh. Lots of ways to modify and use them too, including for low salt or sugar ideas. Check these out!
Elderly Food Safety
-- Although fresh foods are highly recommended for nutrition for seniors, it is also important to know the warnings by the USDA regarding elderly food safety, including raw foods and contamination.
Vision and Macular Degeneration Nutrition
-- Have you heard about the study by The National Eye Institute? In addition to general nutrition, this study has found there are specific foods and supplements necessary for vision health, especially for macular degeneration. Loss of vision in seniors is very common and serious. The NEI recommends we pay attention to what we eat to prevent eye disease.
Healthy elderly nutrition plans may need to vary. If you visit the government website,
you will find excellent advice about nutrition. You can even complete a short online form about your age, height, weight, gender, exercise, etc., and you will receive a recommended food plan just for you. Again, this is only in general terms, but it is very helpful for an appropriate elderly nutrition plan.
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