How to Manage Nutritional Needs of the Elderly

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How to Address a Senior’s Unique Nutritional Needs

By Carolina Orosa, 9:00 am on

As we grow older, our nutritional needs change quite dramatically. While we still require all of the same nutrients, the daily values become different. Seniors who are no longer as active or have been diagnosed with certain health conditions may need to change their dietary habits.

As a caregiver, you need to know about your senior loved one’s nutritional requirements so you can help him or her lead a healthier life. In some cases, you may have to turn to professional caregivers for assistance. Vancouver, BC, elder care professionals can be a wonderful boon to seniors. Whether they require around-the-clock supervision or just need assistance with exercise and household tasks a few days a week, seniors can enjoy a higher quality of life with the help of trusted in-home caregivers.

Here are some steps you can take to address your loved one’s changing nutritional needs.

Seek a Doctor’s Advice

Even if he or she eats healthy foods, a senior’s body might not be able to process those nutrients because of other health issues. Whenever your loved one is diagnosed with a new medical condition or starts taking new medications, you should speak with a doctor about how it will affect your loved one’s gastrointestinal health and what changes need to be made to his or her diet. The doctor might suggest small alterations such as increasing water intake or avoiding caffeine. 

Focus on Nutrient-Dense Meals

Occasionally munching on a treat is perfectly fine for most seniors, but the vast majority of food they eat should contain nutrient-dense ingredients. Also referred to as superfoods, these products contain high doses of key vitamins and minerals with little or no additives. Superfoods are beneficial for seniors who no longer have the same appetite. Instead of forcing them to eat larger meals, they can enjoy the same amount of nutrients from just a few bites. Some of the most recommended superfoods for seniors include sweet potatoes, salmon, leafy green vegetables, tofu, and nuts. 

Prepare Healthy Snacks and Treats

While cooking is an excellent pastime for seniors, many don’t feel compelled to prepare complex meals. This is one of the reasons why you should try to keep your loved one’s home stocked with healthy and tasty snacks he or she can grab at any time. Bags of pre-cut fruits and vegetables are easy to prepare and provide an immediate boost of energy. Options such as cherry tomatoes and berries are perfect for seniors who are accustomed to sweet treats. Another popular snack is popcorn, which has almost no calories. Sodas, candy, and other products with processed sugar should be avoided as much as possible. 

A healthy diet can reduce the risk of dementia, Alzheimer’s, and other health conditions. If your loved one has Alzheimer’s, you may have to focus on more than just his or her diet. Every senior living with Alzheimer’s deserves high-quality Alzheimer’s care. Vancouver, BC, families can rely on the caregivers at Home Care Assistance to keep their loved ones safe while managing the symptoms of the disease. Using our Cognitive Therapeutics Method, our caregivers help seniors regain a sense of pride and accomplishment while slowing the rate of cognitive decline.

Get Blood Work Done

No matter how careful you are with your loved one’s diet, he or she may have more deficiencies than you realize. The only way to accurately test for a deficiency is to have blood work carried out. These tests are traditionally administered by registered nutritionists, but your loved one’s primary doctor may offer them as well. Once the blood sample has been taken, it is then sent to a lab where a doctor will test it for all of the micronutrients and macronutrients the human body requires. If any deficiencies are found, the nutritionist can help you and your loved one come up with new meal plans that will take care of those issues.

Preparing a healthy diet is one of the many ways professional caregivers help seniors keep health conditions such as dementia at bay. For trusted and reliable dementia care, Vancouver families can turn to Home Care Assistance. We are experts in caring for seniors with memory-related conditions, our caregivers are available 24/7, and all of our dementia care programs are backed with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If you need a reliable and professional caregiver for your aging loved one, call one of our friendly Case Managers today at 778-279-3634.