16 Jun Nutrition for Seniors
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Charmaine and the staff at Senior Living Consultants
One of the biggest reasons our clients tell us they ready to move from their home to a senior care facility is meals. People are tired of all the work it takes to plan, shop for, and prepare nutritious meals as they age. Moreover, they are ready to have someone else do all the work and not worry about cooking dinner ever again. In fact, all the communities we tour provide 3 nutritious meals a day, along with snacks. Many feature anytime dining so you are not tied to a schedule. However, until you are ready to move to some type of assisted living facility, remember nutrition is important for people after the age of 65.
Nutrition Needs for Seniors
- Focus on essential nutrients including potassium, calcium, vitamin D (salmon, red meat, eggs, fortified cereals), vitamin B12 (fortified cereals, organ meats, clams, sardines, beef, tuna), and dietary fiber.
- Lose weight or maintain a healthy weight.
- Good nutrition can help reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease.
- Eat enough calories to keep up energy levels.
- Drink plenty of liquids. You may not always feel thirsty even though your body needs fluids. Coffee, tea, milk, and juice all count for fluid intake.
- Spice it up. Limit salt intake but add spices like oregano, basil, and parsley to add flavor to foods.
Food Insecurity in Older Adults
Many older adults in the United States experience food insecurity defined as the the inability for someone to to access healthy and nutritious food due to certain barriers. Seniors may experience food insecurity for a number of reasons including physical, social, and financial obstacles. For example, older adults may be financial stable to purchase delicious, healthy meals but are no longer able to drive to a grocery store or restaurant to buy food. On the other hand, an elderly man may still be able to drive but doesn’t have enough money to purchase nutritious meals if social security is his only source of monthly income. More often, many elderly people who live alone no longer have the motivation to cook for themselves.
There are a number of federal, state, and local government programs available to people 60 and older who are dealing with food insecurity.
- Supplemental Assistance Nutrition Program (SNAP). This is a federal program that provides financial assistance to low-income individuals and families (of all ages) to be used at stores to purchase food. The program is administered by the USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) through its nationwide network of FNS field offices. Contact the social service office in your county for more information.
- Meals That Connect. This San Luis Obispo County program provides free, hot lunches to seniors 60 years of age. Meals are available every weekday at ten lunch sites throughout the county or delivered directly to a client’s home. The program not only provide a hot nutritious meal, but also offers social contact for older adults. For homebound seniors, Meals That Connect volunteers are able to check on those who may need assistance. https://www.mealsthatconnect.org
- Meals on Wheels America. This non-profit organization has been delivering meals to seniors in their homes since 1954. The national program supports more than 5000 community based Meals on Wheels groups in the United States. For more information and to find a local group in your area go to: https://www.mealsonwheelsamerica.org/find-meals
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