One of the top concerns for family members is ensuring proper nutrition for the older adults they love. If you’re unsure whether an older adult you know is getting the nutrients he or she needs to stay strong, healthy and well, this quick checklist from Florida’s top-rated referred care providers at American, Advocate and Whitsyms In-Home Care can help uncover potential red flags:
- Is the older adult you know experiencing a loss of appetite, difficulties with digesting food, or problems with chewing/swallowing? Has there been a decrease in the amount of food being eaten over the past several months as a result?
- Has the older adult experienced significant weight loss over the last few months? Losing weight, especially for someone with a less active lifestyle, can indicate that the person is not eating properly on a regular basis.
- Does the older adult have difficulty with mobility? Being confined to the home can lead to nutritional problems, as it’s more challenging for those with mobility issues to grocery shop or fix meals.
- Has an older loved one been under stress lately, or been diagnosed with a chronic illness in the past few months?
- What is the older adult’s Body Mass Index (BMI)? A BMI of 18.5 or less may indicate that a loved one is not eating enough, while a BMI of 30 or above can point toward obesity.
If you find through answering these questions that an older adult may be experiencing problems with getting sufficient nutrition, it’s a good idea to check in with the older adult’s doctor.
MyPlate for Older Adults is a helpful guide to appropriate nutrition for seniors, with details on foods that are high in vitamins and minerals and low in sugar, salt, and fat. It also includes recommendations for exercise and fluid consumption, issues that are of particular concern for many older adults. Nutritional tips according to this model include:
- Bright-colored vegetables, such as peppers and carrots
- Deep-colored fruits, such as berries and melons
- Whole grains and cereals, such as brown rice
- Nonfat or low-fat dairy products, such as yogurt and low-lactose milk
- Liquid vegetable oils and soft spreads, as they are lower in saturated and trans fats
- Replacing salt with spices
- Physical exercise including walking and resistance training
Additional guidelines include selecting foods that are easier to prepare and decrease waste, such as bags of frozen vegetables and single-portion containers of fruit.
The trusted Florida referred care providers at American, Advocate, and Whitsyms In-Home Care are on hand to help older adults maintain proper nutrition through grocery shopping, planning and preparing healthy meals, serving as a companion to make mealtimes more enjoyable, cleaning up the kitchen, and more.
Contact us any time to learn more about in-home care for older adults by clicking the link to the location nearest you below:
- American In-Home Care – Serving North, Central, and West Coast of Florida
- Advocate In-Home Care – Serving Southeast and Southwest Florida
- Whitsyms In-Home Care – Serving Southeast and Southwest Florida
State of Florida License and Registration Numbers: 30211518, 30211651, 30211295, 30211390, 30210978, 30211293, 30211382, 30211504, 30211733, 30211535, 30211531, 30211710, 30211709, 30211045, 5661