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6 Common Effects of Poor Nutrition in Aging Adults

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Good nutrition is an essential part of wellbeing for people of all ages, but this is especially necessary for seniors. Not receiving adequate vitamins and minerals can cause several health conditions. Here are some of the reasons it’s important to make sure your senior loved one always has access to healthy foods and supplements. 

1. Obesity 

Seniors who only have access to foods with little nutritional value, such as fast food, highly-processed foods, and sugary foods, tend to be overweight or obese compared to those who have access to fresher, healthier foods. Obesity can lead to health conditions like heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and high blood pressure. If your loved one already has one of these conditions, not maintaining a healthy weight can make them worse. If this sounds familiar, try cooking more often for your loved one to encourage him or her to eat healthier whole foods. 

If your senior loved one needs extra help with daily activities like cooking and grocery shopping, consider hiring a professional caregiver. Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same home care services. Colorado Springs families can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide individualized care plans to meet your elderly loved one’s unique care needs. Our holistic Balanced Care Method was designed to help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and our Cognitive Therapeutics Method offers mentally stimulating activities that can stave off cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia.

2. Weak Bones 

As seniors age, their bones, joints, and muscles become weaker, so it’s important to keep them as strong as possible. Seniors who don’t get enough calcium in their diets are at a greater risk for injury, particularly broken bones, because their bones are more brittle. Calcium deficiency can also prevent broken bones from healing properly. Make sure your loved one has access to calcium-rich foods like milk, cheese, almonds, broccoli, and oranges. You can also encourage him or her to buy products like orange juice or cereal that has been fortified with extra calcium. 

3. Weak Immune System 

The older your loved one gets, the more at risk for cold, flus, and infection he or she becomes. Poor nutrition can increase this risk because it weakens the immune system. Your loved one needs to consume more fresh fruits and vegetables with vitamin C, like citrus fruits, bell peppers, spinach, broccoli, and kiwi fruit. Consider planning a family outing to a local farmers market to encourage your loved one to take an interest in vitamin-rich produce.

4. Tooth Decay 

Tooth decay is not just an effect of poor nutrition. It can be a leading factor as to why seniors don’t eat healthy foods. For this reason, always make sure your loved one is brushing and flossing regularly and seeing a dentist every six months. Sugary food is the worst for causing tooth decay, so if your loved one has a sweet tooth, try some sugar-free alternatives. You can also consider learning to bake with alternative sweeteners like stevia or even sweet fruits like bananas and applesauce.

5. Constipation and Other Digestive Conditions

Seniors are at higher risk for constipation and digestive disorders than any other age group. One reason for this is that they do not eat enough fiber-rich foods. Flavorless fiber supplements that can be mixed into beverages are a great option. You can also encourage your loved one to eat more lentils, beans, oatmeal, pears, apples, artichokes, and broccoli. 

Help your loved one prepare healthy and nutritious meals. If your aging loved one needs occasional help with bathing, grooming, cooking, or other basic household tasks, or if you need time to attend to important personal matters, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of live-in and respite care. Colorado Spring seniors can maintain their independence while living at home with the help of our reliable respite caregivers.

6. Decreased Brain Function

While it hasn’t been proven, poor nutrition may be associated with diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s. Seniors who do not eat properly may experience brain fog, confusion, and issues with memory and concentration. Incorporating brain-healthy omega-3 fatty acids into your loved one’s diet may help with these issues. This means eating more fish and nuts, but you may also find foods in the local supermarket that are fortified with omega-3. Eggs, milk, yogurt, and juice are just a few examples.

Aging in place can present a few unique challenges for older adults. Some only require part-time assistance with exercise or meal preparation, while others are living with serious illnesses and benefit more significantly from receiving live-in care. Colorado Spring, CO, Home Care Assistance are leaders in the elderly in-home care industry for good reason. We tailor our care plans based on each senior’s individual needs, our caregivers continue to receive updated training in senior care as new developments arise, and we also offer comprehensive care for seniors with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and Parkinson’s. If your aging loved one needs assistance with daily activities or you need a break from your caregiving duties, call us at (719) 822-1229 today.