A myriad of specific elderly nutrition problems tend to increase as we age — and proper nutrition is often more difficult to get. Nutrition (or lack of it) in our older loved ones is often hidden
And it may be difficult to discover exactly what it going on.

When Dad first moved from Arizona into his assisted living facility back here, he was 93. One of the first things I noticed was his lack of appetite. It was not just from the stress of moving, but was a long-term issue. He ate like a bird, ate very little protein, but lots of salt and sugar. Lots of snacks.This was not like him. He had always been astute with his nutrition.

So I immediately had to make sure plenty of healthy snack food (including with protein) was always on hand, plus be sure that he got at least one good protein meal a day. (See our page on delicious elderly nutrition snacks).

Certainly, taking vitamins and supplements can help. And a balanced diet plan is a must. Nutritious recipes for cooking can help. We know all these things, at least in the back of our minds. But the consequences of not getting enough high nutrition foods is very serious.

Consequences…

Proper elderly nutrition and eating habits are crucial to maintain quality of life: control blood sugar levels to avoid diabetes, maintain good vision, a positive mood, good sleep, better eyesight, energy, bone and muscle strength, digestion, good elimination, etc. These are severely affected with poor diet, causing sometimes serious elderly nutrition problems.

Startling Studies and Statistics

Some of the studies I came upon floored me. Elderly nutrition problems are, and have been, an important concern for health officials — the Centers for Disease Control estimate that by 2030 the U.S. population will double, to about 71 million older adults. That is about one in every five people.

We are, as they say, on the “brink of a longevity revolution.” It is crucial that we focus on a healthy lifestyle, and nutrition tops the list.

In 2000 the USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion did a study with a group of elderly, their nutrition, and elderly nutrition problems. The average age in the study was 72.3 years old, with 48% men and 52% women.

They concluded that elderly who did not eat sufficient amounts of quality food (i.e. meat, fish, vegetables) took in, of course, less calories, good carbs, good fats, and protein. Key vitamins and minerals (such as the B’s, iron and zinc) that are crucial to brain and immune system function were also lacking. They thus were more greatly susceptible to infection, as well as cognitive disorders and chronic illness.

The USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) studies also say that of Americans over age 65, malnutrition and obesity are common. This can be partly due to having to cheap, nutrition-less food. Because of budget concerns. In fact, the studies indicate that if the elderly receive what is known as “nutritional intervention,” many diseases could be prevented.

One of the most startling studies to me was this…
Intervention studies
indicate that malnutrition is a major reason for hospitalization for the elderly — one of the more severe elderly nutrition problems. As we age have the same Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) as when we were young, with Vitamins D, B6, and calcium as exceptions.

Yet the elderly don’t need as many calories. I certainly realized this with Dad. So with less calories, often these needed nutrients are not obtained. Women need even fewer calories, so can have even a more difficult time.

It is evident that highly nutritious foods with lower calories are vital, and a wide variety of foods in moderate portions. But many elderly enjoy comfort food and snacking — often their choices are not healthy.

Dad loved to just nibble. He got to a point when he only vaguely cared about the nutritional value of his food. I had to care for him. So healthy  snacks are a very important means of getting those nutrient-dense foods.

Food Stamps can assist the elderly in obtaining healthy groceries, yet according to the U.S. government, very few participate because of lack of information about the program and as importantly, about nutritional need. They do not perceive that there is an elderly nutrition problem. Many elderly also perceive a negative stigma attached to Food Stamps.

There are other elderly nutrition problems, however. They’re serious, sometimes subtle elderly dietary problems are from changes in eating patterns. And we need to get to the root of it, as they pose a real health threat.

There are many reasons for poor eating
Like the inability to grocery shop, poor digestion, chewing difficulties including difficulties with dentures, poor appetite. Loved ones may pick at food, or even forget to eat. Or they might just like what they like, and it’s not necessarily all good. And oh how stubborn older folks can sometimes be!

There are also specialty concerns, such as diabetes. And if your loved one has any kind of serious vision loss, there is a special recommended nutrition for eyes that you should know about. It’s particularly for vision and macular degeneration nutrition. This eye disease is one of Dad’s major issues. Macular degeneration extremely common. So I was particularly interested in anything that can help prevent or help this. An eye doctor can tell you about this particular nutrition for eyes if you are concerned.

Solutions

No doubt a number of preventative measures can assist in elderly heath besides good nutrition.

Also important are regular exercise (which aids in all body functions including digestion), quitting tobacco products, and getting regular preventative medical check-ups, including for dementia screening (dementia greatly impacts eating and nutrition), and depression. Other issues can occur with elderly nutritition food safety as well, and we discuss more solutions on that page.

An interesting consideration which I personally have used for years, — Goat milk products have special properties that can help provide proper nutrition for the elderly. You can read more about this topic at a web site called Everything Goat Milk; see Elderly Nutrition and Goat Milk.

The Centers for Disease Control state that although there is, of course, a higher possibility of poor health as we age, it is not an inevitable consequence!

Follow our link below and learn more about elderly nutrition and what you can do.

Easy Healthy Recipes — Our “recipe central,” with lots of great recipes and links within our site to take you to more healthy recipes you might like to find out more about.
Healthy Snack Recipes — Especially important for those with elderly nutrition problems. Learn lots of easy and nutritious recipes.
Delicious Healthy Dessert Recipes — Something for almost everyone, including those with sugar, carb, and fat restrictions. Learn new recipes and ideas for sweetening the healthy way.

Our Share Your Recipe Forums — Where our readers have shared their own recipes right on our web site. You can too. Our readers would love to hear from you!!
Share Your Healthy Desserts
More Healthy Snack Recipes – From You


to Elderly Nutrition

by Madelaine
(NC)

My family has some great easy dips – with a little pizazz! (Even if your stomach or system can’t handle much “pizzaz”)! We serve these a lot during the holidays, parties, and don’t lets forget watching the big game. Or Downton Abbey ??

I do understand that sometimes seniors have more sensitive stomachs and digestion and need food that is a little bland. But these are so good I wanted to share them anyway, because you can always change them, and remove an ingredient if you need to, or substitute your favorite that is less pizazzy. If that is a word. Some of these are good for dipping veggies into, as well. So here are a few of our favorites.

Spinach Appetizers

1 package of frozen spinach chopped, thaw and drain really well
4-5 green onions, chopped fine
1 tsp lemon juice
2-4 dashes of tobasco sauce
Real mayonnaise, enough to make it all spreadable
Salt to taste

Combine everything and chill well. Serve chilled, spread on Escort crackers (or your other favorite fancy crackers).

Picante Party Dip

1 medium size jar of Pace Picante Sauce, medium hot, (or else whatever else you like).
2 Haas (or Hass) avocados, chopped (these are the kind with dark bumpy skin and the inside is lightish green).
1 medium seedless English cucumber, chopped.
½ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese.
1 tsp fresh lime juice.

Combine all the ingredients and chill well. Serve with chilled with white and blue corn tortilla chips.

Hot Curried Crab Dip

6 oz lump crab meat, picked through for shells and cartilage
8 oz softened cream cheese
1 tsp sweet curry powder
1 Tablespoon minced shallot
1 T milk
Freshly cracked black pepper

Mix all ingredients and place in a greased shallow baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes until hot and bubbly. Serve with melba toast rounds.

One thing I know is that seniors do love parties. My mother ate these dips just fine, as did her mother. But you can change them as you need to. Enjoy!

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by Marilee
(Wisconsin)

We tried a really good crab appetizer with all kinds of stuff on top of a crispy cracker. You can either heat them or eat them cold. (I like them heated the best). You could also microwave them, but they are crispier if you heat them in a traditional or counter top type oven. Here is what to do.

Ingredients:
Crispy crackers (I prefer low salt Triscuits – they’re whole grain and healthier)
Can of crab meat, drained well
Seafood sauce (this is optional)
Shredded cheese, your choice
Spinach or lettuce leaf (I like spinach better)
Bread crumbs (optional)
Various toppings — such as slice of mushroom, small onion slice, pimento, celery, black or green olive, piece of fresh tomato, even one or two thin almond slices. Whatever your favorite toppings are.

Place your crackers on a cookie sheet. Spread on a little seafood sauce (if you like that). Then add a piece of lettuce or a spinach leaf. Put on a little pile of crab meat with a spoon. It this point, sprinkle on some bread crumbs if you’re going to use that – it adds a little more crispness. Top that with a little shredded cheese. Lastly, add on your other toppings. I really like a slice of fresh mushroom on mine. But use whatever you have around. If you’re not going to use the seafood sauce, these taste good with a little lemon juice squirted on the top, too.

I bake mine for 10 minutes on 300F in my little counter top oven. If you use a larger oven, you might do them at 325 or 350F.

I’d say to plan on anywhere from four to eight of these per person. They’re great for a snack just for yourself, or to serve at a party. And since they’re pretty complete, besides being used as an appetizer, they can be eaten as part of a quick lunch too. They go well with white wine or a sparkling juice. (Sometimes I make my own concoction with sparkling water or gingerale, plus some fruit juice added to it).

I’ve also tried a similar version of these using leftover lobster, white fish, and even tuna. For tuna, probably a little mayo would be better instead of seafood sauce.

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by cooking_gal
(USA)


Whatever the occasion, this combination of food will keep you satisfied and healthy.

1) Nachos with low-fat cheddar cheese, whole-grain tortilla chips, and natural salsa (all three ingredients can be found at Whole Food’s)
2) Smartfood popcorn mixed with almonds and M&Ms or chocolate chips
3) S’mores with one marshmallow and a hunk of dark chocolate (dark chocolate contains antioxidants, a necessary ingredient)
4) Mini ice-cream sandwich: take 2 leftover cookies and slab frozen yogurt between each one. Delicious!

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Get more healthy snack recipes – shared by you!

Snacking seems to be a favorite past time for all ages. Everybody loves to snack. But on what? For seniors especially, who can be light eaters, healthy snacks are nutritionally important.
So how do you handle nibbling and snacking?

Dips, spreads, fruit, veggies, appetizers, healthy chips and crackers. Salads and soups too. Snacking is often done not just for parties and fun, but out of boredom as well. This is especially true for seniors of all ages (and baby boomers).  However, as it has been said, we are what we eat. Including our snacks.

This page is all about more healthy snack recipes, and gives further ideas directly from our readers — telling about what they make for healthy snacks. A good way to sneak in a little extra nutrition! See how you might modify these to fit your needs.

You can share your favorite snack recipes below. It’s easy — just jump in below and start typing! Showcase and share yours. Scroll down a little further and you will see the listing of snack submissions we have received. Then enjoy!

Have A Great Snack Idea or a Question?

What’s your favorite healthy snack?

If you have a new snack idea to share, this is the place! It’s easy… just start typing! Scroll further down to see what others wrote.

What Other Visitors Have Shared

Click below to see snack ideas from other visitors…

Easy Dips 
My family has some great easy dips – with a little pizazz! (Even if your stomach or system can’t handle much “pizzaz”)! We serve these a lot during the …

English Muffin Recipe 
I’ve got easy English muffin recipe ideas with a little different twist. Are you familiar with the sprouted, whole grain breads? That is what makes the …

Crispy Crab Appetizer 
We tried a really good crab appetizer with all kinds of stuff on top of a crispy cracker. You can either heat them or eat them cold. (I like them heated …

Prosciutto Recipe 
One of my favorite appetizers is this delicious prosciutto recipe, using it wrapped around fresh fruit so you get the taste of salty and sweet. If …

Crab Cakes Recipe 
A batch of our crab cakes recipe can make a good, substantial snack that you can make up in advance and then freeze. Or also use them as a regular meal. …

Bruschetta Recipe 
If you’ve never made a bruschetta recipe (or even if you have) this one is especially very tasty. It includes chopped tomatos served on top of crusty, …

English Muffin Recipes 
English muffins recipes make an easy (and creative) way to do breakfast or snacks, so here are several unusual favorites. And you can add your favorite …

Iced Tea Recipes 
Here is a really nice alternative to iced tea recipes — Iced Pineapple Green Tea. I also use mint tea, with this surprise splash of pineapple. Makes …

The Sleepover Mix 
Whatever the occasion, this combination of food will keep you satisfied and healthy. 1) Nachos with low-fat cheddar cheese, whole-grain tortilla …

Pita Pizza 
A surprise pita pizza recipe, this one is made with BBQ sauce instead of regular pizza or tomato sauce! You can do all kinds of things with it, and it …

Red Pepper Recipe 
My super easy red pepper recipe makes a really healthy snack. These are full of flavor, simple to make, and can be served warm or cold. You can pile them …

Rhubarb Salad 
Rhubarb is one of my favorites, so here’s a great fresh rhubarb salad for those of you who grow it or get it, and maybe would like to have something new …

Crab Royale Recipe 
You may wonder what a crab royale recipe is. Well here’s a really simple and elegant crab recipe nice enough for any occasion. And in which you can use …

Toasty Egg Snacks 
Toasty egg snacks are a really healthy snack recipe to use with sliced hard boiled eggs and a toasted English muffin, or just toast. I always keep a few …

Apple Slice Snacks 
I love making apple slice snacks and dressing them up for a healthy in-betweener. Even a quick dessert. They’re delicious and very easy to make with lots …

Homemade Cheesy Snacks 
These delicious, cheesy biscuit-like snacks are made with cheddar and seasonings…with a little sherry added in for special flavor! Serve for snacks, …

Mini Snack Cracker Pizzas 
These mini cracker pizzas are really easy, and are yummy nutritious snacks to have around. We like to serve them at games or get-togethers too. My …

Crab and Cheese Fondue Dip 
Crab is one on my family’s favorite sea foods. This fondue, or warm dip (you don’t need a fondue pot or those forks — you can make it in a crock pot, …

Easy Salad Recipes 
Here’s a really healthy snack. I made this up after trying something similar in a restaurant. I love curry, but this can be done very mild. Chopped …

Fried Tomatoes 
This savory recipe for fried tomatoes has been in our friend group for a long time, and everybody loves it. I know there are many ways to do fried tomatoes, …

Liver Pate Recipe 
Ok, so I know you may think you have to be a liver lover to like this liver pate recipe. But really — this is really good! I do have to say, that lots …

Beer Nacho Sauce 
Does anyone need a wonderful healthy snack recipe for a homemade nacho sauce? It’s great for snacking on, especially when you watch the ball games, which …

Easy Quiche 
I just had to share this easy quiche recipe myself. It’s a super easy spinach and cheese quiche, a favorite of my family for years. We also call it “spinach …

Chunky Chicken Chili 
This chicken chili makes a nice healthy snack and has lots of protein in it, so it’s a substantial one too. It’s even filling enough for a real meal. It’s …

Click here to write your own.

Easy Dip Recipes 
I have a really good crab dip to share for a healthy snack. And it’s easy to make too. We use it to snack on, plus for parties and get-togethers. The crab …

Click here to write your own.

Many thanks to all those who have shared their great snack recipes with us all. We really appreciate it! And our readers give great feedback about how they are enjoying your ideas.

Be sure to also see:

Healthy Snack Recipes — This is our original page featuring lots more healthy recipes that can be eaten just about any time.
Share Your Healthy Desserts — Be sure to see our share forum featuring just desserts – recipes also submitted by our readers. And of course you can modify them to make them as healthy as you’d like!
Easy Healthy Recipes — Don’t miss our recipe central page, which is categorized to direct you to a variety of very yummy pages on our web site!

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by Frank
(Iowa)

Rhubarb is one of my favorites, so here’s a great fresh rhubarb salad for those of you who grow it or get it, and maybe would like to have something new to do with it. But in the off season, you can also get the frozen rhubarb – it also turns out very well. This recipe is a little tangy and a little sweet, and makes a great addition to a picnic or pot luck too.

3 cups of chopped rhubarb
2 cups of water
1 2/3 cups of a sweetener or sugar
1 package (6 oz.) of strawberry gelatin (sugarless or low cal will work)
1 can of crushed pineapple, drained well
1/2 cup of canned, or pre cooked whole cranberries (optional)
… or try adding in …
1/2 cup chopped apples
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

In a sauce pan over medium heat: cook the rhubarb in the water for about 5 minutes, or until it is tender. Remove it from heat.

Stir in the sweetener and the gelatin, dissolving them both very well. Add and stir in the drained pineapple pieces. Add in the nuts.

If you happen to have the cranberries around, these are also really good to add in. Also add in the apples, if your are using them. I tried using both the extra cranberries and apples once. It was very good, but I needed more of the sauce because these additional ingredients added more volume to the recipe. So it would probably be a good idea to increase the amount of water, sugar, and gelatin a little, in that case. You will probably have to “guestimate” a little bit when adjusting for that.

Pour the whole mixture into an oiled mold. Chill, and then it is ready to serve. You can also add a little bit of whipping cream on top when serving. It’s almost good enough to use as a dessert! So why not even try putting it on top of some ice cream and use it like a sauce. It would probably be really good with some extra nuts on top. I just thought of the ice cream idea, so I think I’ll go try it out right now!

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I never thought my Dad would have elderly dietary problems, major changes in his eating habits, changes in appetite. He was practically a gourmet cook, had weekly dinner parties, ate well, and was always conscious of good nutrition.

But I was in for a big surprise when we moved him back here from Arizona, where he lived alone until age 93. And sometimes there wasn’t much I could do.

We all know the importance of nutrition and healthy diet. When we age various elderly issues occur and our appetites can become affected. This leads to poor eating habits, which leads to nutrition problems, which leads to health problems. And this is what I was concerned about with Dad. I found working with nutrition became a big element in my overall elderly health care for Dad.

If your loved one is experiencing any kind of elderly dietary problems such as changes in eating habits or appetite, it is important to get to the bottom of it. Like I had to with Dad. Sometimes the reasons can be subtle, and sometimes loved ones don’t want to admit they’re having elderly dietary problems. Sometimes they simply don’t know.

Here is some helpful information that can help sort it out. Always ask a healthcare professional for advice on these matters, as serious nutrition factors may be at risk.

Common Elderly Dietary Problems

Why Eating Patterns Change

Depression is one of the very common elderly issues. Seniors may feel alone, old, or upset that their bodies and/or minds are no longer in the same “working order.” Depression is a main contributor to poor eating and elderly dietary problems. Think about it. When you feel down or upset, what happens to your appetite? Most people lose it.

Or they may overeat as a temporary way to make themselves feel good. But what do they eat? Usually a lot of junk, especially sweets, bad carbs and bad fats with little or no nutrition.

Depression can also be aggravated by elderly dietary problems, but it can usually be treated. If you suspect your loved one is suffering from depression, seek help from their doctor right away. Dad was always a real optimist and showed no signs of depression. So I ruled this one out with him.

Loneliness and isolation can occur as we age and become less mobile, or experience changes in hearing and vision. It becomes more difficult to socialize, yet eating has traditionally been an important social activity. Elderly dietary problems can occur just from this lack of social interaction.

Dad did have severe hearing and vision loss, and that’s why he moved back here to us. When he was in assisted living it was almost impossible for him to socialize. He dreaded going to the dining room. I found out he was skipping and nibbling in his room… on snacks with too much sodium and salt. which I had to change.

I spoke with the nurse and dining room aids, and they helped him get to the dining room, sat him with people who were kind but not too talkative, and he coped. But not well enough. I eventually moved him in to live with me.

Make sure you include your elderly loved ones in outings and get-togethers as much as possible, and pay special attention to them so they feel included. And include foods that they especially may be interested in — but be sure they’re nutritious.

My friend’s father hardly ever ate except when he was at a social get-together with family or friends. They always prepared a nutritional twist on his favorites.

Our senses change. Aging also causes our five senses to change, smell being one. As you know, smell is directly linked with the sense of taste. So if food no longer has sensory appeal, it isn’t as enjoyable. This disinterest in food can cause severe elderly dietary problems. Dad’s sense of smell seemed okay, especially for foods he was interested in.

Ask your loved one what smells are their favorite and what food aromas they enjoy the most. You can also play a game. Have them sniff various spices and foods and identify what they are and which ones they like best. Make sure those are used in meal preparation. Try special sauces, seasonings and dressings. Talk about foods they use to make or enjoy eating the most, and why.

Sometimes people who had used a lot of salt on their food and now have doctor’s orders for a low-sodium diet, believe food just doesn’t taste the same anymore. Their taste buds, though, can be re-trained by using seasonings and pepper (there are many kinds) instead. Dad was put on a low-salt diet, and he’d been a real salt lover. But he eventually adjusted just fine.

Also try enhancing their sense of smell by lighting scented candles with fruit or spice aromas – but only use candles if someone is there to keep an eye out.

Disinterest in cooking itself will contribute to elderly dietary problems. It may seem more difficult as we age, or not as fun when just cooking for ourselves. Or it may have actually become physically challenging to cook anymore.

Dad had finally become almost unable to cook down in Arizona. Even using a microwave became dangerous because of his sight (what if he set it for two hours instead of two minutes)? So he did a lot of nibbling until he moved back here.

Check with the local senior center — many offer special group meals, at least weekly and sometimes daily depending on the community. This also offers a social opportunity for elderly.

Perhaps family or a neighbor can make a nutritious meal a couple times a week that would also provide quality left-overs. Also consider Meals on Wheels or other community services. Any of these can really help improve elderly dietary problems.

Grocery shopping (and shopping of all kinds) can eventually become major elderly issues, especially if seniors have difficulty driving, lifting, reaching, or seeing. This was a turning point for Dad. He called here in a panic one morning from Arizona. Overnight his macular degeneration caused a lot of bleeding in his eye, and he could no longer get to the store or read any labels on the shelves of the stores, or in his cupboard.

A family member or friend may need to take your loved one to the store. Help choose fresh, unprocessed foods as much as possible, high in vitamins and minerals, to avoid elderly dietary problems. Try to buy enough to have extra basics on hand in case seasonal weather prevents a timely grocery trip.

If there is no one available to drive them, ask the local grocery store if home delivery is available. Many grocery stores now have online shopping as well. After you set up a preferred shopping list the first time and save it, it is very easy to re-order and have it delivered according to the store’s schedule.

Old or contaminated food poses big food safety problems to seniors. Poor food storage is often connected to disinterest in cooking, memory loss, and depression. Loss of vision and sense of smell can also cause problems.

Make sure a family member or perhaps friend regularly checks their fridge and cupboards for expired food or items that have “gone bad.” When we went to Arizona to move Dad, he did have some bad food in his fridge because he couldn’t see.

Memory issues such as dementia or Alzheimer’s are very serious elderly issues that may cause elderly to forget to eat. Forgetting normal everyday activities, in fact, is a symptom of these illnesses. If you suspect your loved one is actually forgetting to eat – it may be more than just those “senior moments.”

Dad didn’t have much appetite by the time he was in his 90s. He was having some typical memory loss and just forgot to eat. I’m sure if I wasn’t there to feed him, he would have hardly eaten at all. Memory loss not only impacts elderly nutrition, but also a host of other health issues.

All elderly people should receive routine dementia screening after age 65.  Depending on the causes of dementia, there are situations in which there is available dementia treatment.

Money may also be a factor contributing to elderly dietary problems. Seniors may start buying cheaper groceries that are overly processed, high in sodium, have bad carbs, saturated fats and sugars, and are very low in nutrition. This can worsen or bring on other health conditions, including heart problems, stroke, and diabetes.

Check with your county and senior center to see what federal, state, and local programs may be available to assist. See our pages about elderly assistance and temporary financial help. Elderly sometimes resist receiving Food Stamps, but poor nutrition can lead to malnutrition, and is one of the major causes of hospitalization for seniors. I could hardly believe this, but it was verified recently in a special report on one of our news stations.

Some medications are known to cause side effects that affect appetite. Your loved one may not feel like eating, so it is important to make foods available that are appealing, loaded with nutrients, and can be eaten in small portions many times a day (see suggestions below). Our page on Elderly Nutrition Snacks has many easy, healthful ideas to pack in those nutrients, even for nibblers.

I always had a lot of these available for Dad in his room when he was in assisted living, after I found out about his poor nibbling habits. When he moved in with me, we had three plastic containers full of different healthy snacks that he could choose from, by his easy chair.

Teeth and mouth problems may also increase due to elderly dietary problems. If your loved one complains about difficulty chewing, pain or if they have lost teeth, make sure they get checked by a dentist.

Poor elderly nutrition can lead to an increase of cavities and tooth loss. And poor teeth, in turn, lead to further difficulties with chewing – a vicious circle. Choose foods that are soft, like whole grain cereals, cheese, yoghurt, eggs, soups, and creamed dishes. Fresh fruits and vegetables are vitally important for nutrients. They can be grated or finely chopped as well as steamed.

Dad had a hard time eating some seeds, as they always got stuck in his teeth, which drove him nuts because he’d been a dentist. And I knew an older lady whose front tooth broke off from biting into hard nuts. She never could get it fixed, due to the cost.

Find out what dental procedures Medicare and any supplementary medical plan may cover. If there is a university nearby with a dental school, they most likely offer services at very reduced fees, especially to the elderly. Dental students are always checked and supervised by an instructor.

Many states have regular yearly (or twice yearly) free dental clinics set up in a large auditorium or gymnasium, in which the state dental society offers free dental care of all kinds, especially to seniors. My brother, also a dentist, participates in this regularly.

End of Life. We may dread the very idea. But it is a fact that towards end of life, especially in the last six months, physical appetite may wane, as well as previous emotional interest and enjoyment of food. If you suspect this may be the case, be sure to consult a medical professional for advice. However, it may be inadvisable to force your loved one to eat. Even in our local nursing homes, staff (or family) cannot force the residents to eat.

Nutrition Ideas

If your loved ones are not eating a lot, it is very important that when they do eat, they take in the nutrients their bodies need. Seniors need to make sure to get enough protein, calcium, zinc, vitamin C, vitamin E, and the B vitamins.

Try whole grain crackers, breads, cereals, whole grain chips with a little salsa or healthy dip, natural cheeses, low-salt nuts, seeds, granola, flavored yoghurt, fresh fruits, small pre-cut pieces of meat, and fresh pre-cut veggies — with a flavorful dip on hand. The less processed the better.

Fresh fruit is an excellent means of preventing elderly dietary problems and getting lots of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants that fight disease, even protein. There are over 200 fruits in our stores at various times of the year, so there’s something for everyone! Just be aware of washing them well and trying to buy organic and local as much as possible, to avoid disease. See more below…

Ask your elderly loved on’es health specialist about vitamin and mineral supplements to help avoid elderly dietary problems. There are special vitamins and mineral supplements available especially for vision, based on a prominent study called AREDS. Dad’s retina specialist approved of these, although Dad’s macular degeneration became too severe for supplements to work.

If your loved one has any loss of vision, ask about these supplements. Dosages for seniors will differ for any supplements, as their systems now assimilate certain vitamins and minerals differently, so can become more easily toxic. It is also crucial to discuss all current medication to avoid problematic interactions with what they are currently taking, with supplements. We always had to review this with Dad’s specialist.

The elderly love “comfort food” and foods that remind them of their past or happy memories. But if this involves a lot of fat or sugar, changes need to be made — subtle at first, until they get used to new ways of eating, like Dad eventually did. It’s important to monitor diet for the elderly and to assure that they are getting a good balance of fresh, wholesome foods, not just prepared foods from a box or freezer.

Precautions should be taken in using fresh foods, however. Elderly dietary problems do not just involve lack of nutrients, good food, vitamins and minerals. Health also involves particular food safety– especially food contamination, some raw foods, fruits and vegetables. Fresh foods are the best source of nutrients, of course, but with the elderly special care should be taken. There is greater risk of becoming sick.

See our main page on Elderly Nutrition, by clicking on the link below.

to Elderly Nutrition

by Anna
(CA)

One of my favorite appetizers is this delicious prosciutto recipe, using it wrapped around fresh fruit so you get the taste of salty and sweet.

If you are not familiar with what prosciutto is, it is an already cooked, thinly slice lunch meat similar to ham. My husband is of Italian background, and it is a popular Italian food. It does contain a bit of salt and some fat content, so this recipe would not be one for people who are watching salt intake in their diets. But having a treat like this now and then is not going to greatly impact your whole health or diet. And because it is sliced very thinly, you are not getting a lot.

Some of the best things to wrap prosciutto around are chunks of melon, or dates, or fresh figs.

Here is what you need…
Very thin slices of prosciutto.
Chunks of melon, or dates and figs – or all of it!
Toothpicks. Used colored ones for parties.

Make sure the prosciutto is very thinly sliced, or the taste will be too overpowering vs. the melon, or other fruit. It will come sliced in the package at the store, so be sure it is the thin kind.
Cut the slices into narrow strips, about 2 to 3 inches long.
Wrap a strip around the chunk of melon of other fruit, and secure it all with a toothpick.
That’s it! Easy but delicious!

If you’re going to use dates, this version is really good…
Cut the date in half.
Stuff it with goat cheese.
You can also add a bit of chopped chives.
Then put the date halves back together.
Wrap with the prosciutto strip, and secure it with a toothpick.

This makes a fabulous appetizer or snack, and the combination of the tastes is really outstanding. When I serve these at parties, they really get snatched up fast. So if you’re serving them for a group, make sure you have a nice large plate full. You are sure to get plenty of compliments.

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by Bobbi
(Illinois)

This savory recipe for fried tomatoes has been in our friend group for a long time, and everybody loves it. I know there are many ways to do fried tomatoes, and this is just one of them. It seems they are popular in the southern part of the U.S., and it may be done differently there! I know there is a tradition for making fried green tomatoes, if you can get them. But here is our way that we’ve done it for years. I know that tomatoes have a lot of nutrients and even antioxidants, so this would be healthy for you, including for elderly who like to snack.

You can make these for a snack or serve them with breakfast, brunch, lunch, or whatever!

I’m so used to just making this without actually measuring everything out, that I’m just providing estimates here for some of the ingredients. A lot will depend on how many tomatoes you are using, and your preferences.

Cut several tomatoes into about 3/4 inch slices.
2 to 3 eggs, beaten
About 1 cup flour (for coating)
About 1 cup or so of bread crumbs
(The above depends on how many tomatoes you are using, so some of this is ball-park amounts).
1/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp basil
You can vary the amounts of the seasonings, and you can add in anything else you like, too.
Bacon drippings, for frying if available (you can also use bacon bits in this recipe).
Several Tablespoons of olive oil for frying

Mix together the bread crumbs and seasonings in a flat pan. Put the flour in a separate pan, and the egg in a separate pan. Pie pans are good – this is for the coating process. Coat the tomatoes first in flour, then egg, then the bread crumb mixture. Heat the oil and bacon drippings together. When hot, place the coated tomatoes in the hot oil and fry till crisp on one side. Then turn. Turn just once.

Sometimes elderly, I know, are not able to eat a lot of salt. So the salt amount can be adjusted. This is a really delicious way of making fried tomatoes. It gives a good variation to snacking, and trying something new.

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by Jeanine
(Tennessee)

I love making apple slice snacks and dressing them up for a healthy in-betweener. Even a quick dessert. They’re delicious and very easy to make with lots of variety. And my elderly mom loves to help and of course eat them too.

Basically, you first slice an apple into sections, either thick or thin depending on what you like. You don’t even have to peel it if you use organic, as the peels do have nutrients. But you do have to clean them well, of course. Sometimes I dip them in lemon juice to keep them from browning, depending on what I am going to put on them. Because there is a slight lemon taste that would not go with some of the other flavors! Then the fun part – how to fix them up.

Here are some of my ideas of things to put on apple slices.

* Apples slices and nut butter (my favorite is cashew butter – a fantastic taste if you’ve never tried it). You can also put a raisin on top.
* Apples and a slice of banana on top – with a walnut or pecan on top of that.
* Apples and squirt chocolate sauce! I actually use some sugar-free kind. Then I put a nut or sugar-free candy (like a chocolate) on top of it.
* Apples and (sugar-free) whipped cream, with a candy on top.
* Apples and whipped cream, with a half a strawberry on top.
* Apples first dipped in lemon juice to keep them from browning, and then sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg – no sugar.
* Apples and cheddar cheese slice. Or blue cheese if you like it.
* Apples and a piece of salami!
* Apples and yogurt. Sometimes plain, sometimes with fruit. I try to get the natural kind with natural fruit flavor. Although sometimes I confess I sprinkle on some colored sprinkles. Craisins are also good.
* Apples with a little cottage cheese on top, and then a fresh berry or one of the above items on top of that.

Hope you enjoy these! You can, after all, get many slices and possibilities from one apple. They go a long way!

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