Between concerns over diseases endemic to the elderly like diabetes or heart disease, catering to individual food sensitivities, and managing interactions with medication, a proper diet is essential to good health for the elderly. According to the National Institutes of Health, eating a well-planned, balanced mix of foods everyday may very well reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, bone loss, some kinds of cancer, and anemia. Also, for those who may already have one or more of these chronic diseases, eating well and being physically active may help better manage these conditions.
Beyond considerations of preventing or managing illness, eating well plays other important roles in the daily lives of the elderly, from maintaining a healthy level of energy to properly regulating weight.
With obesity rates in the U.S. skyrocketing, we hear a lot about eating too much; but eating too little, or not eating appropriate foods can also be a problem. Consuming enough calories gives the body the fuel it needs to not only perform physical tasks like walking, but mental tasks as well which means one needs to be properly fueled throughout the day for optimal cognitive function and memory. There are several factors that account for the number of calories needed: age, gender, height, weight, and level of activity.
Weight & Activity Level
Proper weight is a concern for most people throughout their lives, but it becomes especially important as the body ages and becomes more at risk for diseases like type 2 diabetes and heart disease, while excess pounds can wreak havoc on aging joints. Consuming not only the right amount of calories, but also the right kind of calories — a healthy blend of foods: fruits, grains, meat, veggies — help to control weight.
Eating more calories than your body needs for your activity level will lead to extra pounds. Many people become less active as they age, which equates to needing fewer calories to maintain a healthy weight. The NIH recommends choosing mostly nutrient-dense foods—those which have a lot of nutrients but relatively few calories—which can supply needed nutrients while keeping down calorie intake.
Taking small steps to improve eating habits is often the most effective way to make lasting changes. By starting with incremental changes—adding a new vegetable to the menu, or simply taking the salt shaker off the table—healthy habits become second nature, and easy to adhere to. Eating well is not about following a diet or losing those extra pounds; rather, it’s a way of living that can improve life exponentially.
David York Agency provides skilled home health aide services for the elderly in their home and is abreast of all the latest guidelines for seniors. They offer the services of Certified Home Health Aides (HHA), Certified Personal Health Care Aides (PCA), Registered Nurses (RN), Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN), full- or part-time, live-in or -out, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Licensed by the New York State Department of Health, they believe your loved one deserves the best care. Call for a free consultation today at 718-376-7755. Please visit the website, like them on Facebook, or follow the agency on Twitter, Google+ or LinkedIn.