Dietary patterns have emerged as a fundamental component in the overall quality of life and survival in older adults. In the past few years, researchers have discovered an increasing incidence of chronic diseases or co-morbid concerns among the elderly. Superior nutritional status has shown a correlation between diet and its effects on mortality. As the older population are more prone to diseases, it is important to prioritise specific dietary requirements which can have a positive impact on their life.
Old age comes with its own set of complications, your metabolism slows down and the body becomes more vulnerable to chronic infections like diabetes or hypertension. To ensure that you receive the best nutritional value, our care company “Virtus care” systematically practice and encourage healthy eating habits among care-receivers including elders. Maintaining optimal health and lifestyle choices, Virtus caregivers have a dedicated team that meets your requirements. Some of the helpful tips we deem can significantly impact their overall quality of life are discussed in detail.
Seniors are more prone to dehydration which can be accounted for due to age-related physiological changes. It changes their sense of thirst, which is further exacerbated if they suffer from mental health problems or physical disabilities that make them more dependent on others. Dehydration is more common among seniors with cognitive impairment including Alzheimer’s disease. Minimum fluid intake must be 1500 to 2000 mL, this requirement may change if a senior is taking additional medications like hypertensive drugs or laxatives to ease their bowel function. Therefore, proper care settings must be implemented to constantly remind them to drink water, similarly, fat-free milk and fresh fruit juices are other alternatives to sweeten their palate. Seniors are more prone to electrolyte imbalance; this affects their heart rate and mental performance. Set up a routine and give them oral rehydration solutions if the weather’s excessively humid; provided that it doesn’t affect their underlying condition. (Picetti et al., n.d.)
Unhealthy lifestyle choices include high calories products, saturated fats and excessive sugar intake. Virtus’s dedicated caregivers help to assimilate their clients with an optimal healthy eating plan. Dietary patterns must include nutrient-dense foods like;
Green vegetables and fruits
Nuts including walnuts and almonds
It should constitute low carbs which must have a low glycemic index (GI) for example, oats, barley, and low-fat dairy products. Additionally, lean chicken and omega-3 rich seafood like salmon are proteins that have a positive impact on their balanced diet. Generally, high-fibre products and antioxidant-rich food must be an adequate part of their diet. (Blumberg, 1997)
Look out for nutritional labels on food products to determine salt and sugar content, healthier alternatives like herbs and grated apples makes the meal livelier. Avoid foods like raw eggs, medium-rare steaks, carbonated drinks and alcohol. (Foods to Avoid If You’re over 65, 2018)
Elderly people are more predisposed towards micronutrients deficiencies as physiological changes affect their bodily functions. Many of their population are deficient in vitamin D due to limited mobility and lack of adequate sunlight. Fat-soluble vitamins are more prone to deficiencies since dietary alterations affect their absorption rates therefore, proper supplementation is a vital component in their lifestyle. According to the Linus Pauling Institute general recommendation for people above 50 years must consume 600 IU/day and 800 IU/day for adults above the age of 70. (Older Adults | Linus Pauling Institute | Oregon State University, n.d.)
You can contact your nutritionist or consult from our caregivers to formulate a proper supplementation guideline for your senior.
A healthy diet is not a restrictive diet, it does not have to bland and unenjoyable instead Virtus care workers are specially trained to provide you with high-quality food that can be enjoyed with friends and family. We encourage social eating habits and our formal care settings to ensure adequate guidelines to help maintain optimal health.
Virtus Care is fully regulated by the Care Quality Commission which is the independent regulator of health and social care in England. As quoted in our CQC report: A person using the service told us, "I have the best carers in Britain. They know how to deal with my mental health issues, they support me, they calm me down."