We all know the importance of adhering to a healthy diet; all the same, knowing and doing are frequently worlds apart. For aging parents, following senior nutrition guidelines is even more crucial to prevent the temptations of making unhealthy food choices – and, typically more challenging. For many older adults, lifestyle choices are subject to various factors:
- Medication side effects that affect taste and/or appetite
- Loss of family members, making mealtime a solitary experience
- Lack of interest in cooking for just one
- As well as others
But there’s one prevailing – yet little discussed – explanation for unhealthy eating in older adults: financial restrictions. Seniors with limited funds might find it challenging to afford fresh, healthy foods, which many times cost much more than a fast food meal or can of soup. These strategies from the National Council on Aging can help:
- Bear in mind that adhering to a wholesome diet can considerably improve health, along with the prospect of preventing doctor visits and hospitalizations – saving older adults money in the end.
- See if an older adult you love is entitled to SNAP, a government program that covers the cost for fresh foods like fruits and veggies. Visit BenefitsCheckUp.org to confirm eligibility. The average benefit to seniors is $100/month.
- Look at the older adult’s local Meals on Wheels program, which offers nutritious meals to seniors, combined with the added benefit of a pleasant volunteer who will deliver the food and enhance socialization.
- If wasting fresh food is a concern for a senior loved one who lives alone, frozen vegetables and fruits are a great option, making it possible for easy preparation of individual-sized portions.
Keep the following in mind to ensure that your older family members are making the most beneficial food choices:
- Review the USDA’s ChooseMyPlate for older adults with particular dietary needs and exercise best practices for those 65 and older.
- Strive for a plethora of colors, particularly brightly-colored foods such as tomatoes, carrots, peppers, eggplant, pumpkin, etc.
- Incorporate lean proteins, whole grain products, and low-fat dairy foods, keeping sodium and sugar to a minimum while ensuring plenty of fiber and nutrients that are particularly crucial in aging, most notably vitamin D.
Turn to the aging care professionals at Anthem Home Care for more suggestions to support the seniors you love make and keep good nutrition habits. We are always available to assist with grocery shopping, meal planning and preparation, and making sure the home is filled with an abundance of healthy choices, as well as sharing mealtimes with older adults to ensure they are more pleasurable. We will even clean up the kitchen afterwards! Reach out to us at 361-643-2323 to learn more about hiring a trusted Rockport caregiver to provide expert home care for the senior you love. View our full service area.