Nutrition Tips for Older Adults
As we age, eating right becomes even more important to maintain our energy and health, as well as to prevent illness and increase our longevity. While the foods that make up a healthy diet may be slightly different from when we were younger, it is still important to eat three balanced meals a day with healthy snacks in between.
If you are caring for an elderly parent or relative, you may be responsible for creating and maintaining their nutrition program. This can be challenging if your loved one has a decreased appetite, which can happen for any number of reasons – from being less active or losing their sense of smell and taste to medication side effects. However, establishing a meal plan with a variety of dishes can help older adults look forward to eating and maintain a stable weight.
Making wise food choices for seniors starts with the basics.
A balanced nutrition program should include:
- Carbohydrate-rich foods like sweet potatoes and brown rice
- Protein-rich foods like salmon and beans
- Fruits and vegetables
In addition, consider including foods that are high in the following nutrients:
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids that help prevent inflammation, which can cause cancer, rheumatoid, arthritis, and heart disease.
- Calcium to build healthy bones can lower blood pressure.
- Fiber to promote proper digestion and help lower the risk of heart disease.
- Water for hydration and to aid digestion. Dehydration is common among seniors, who feel less thirsty as they age. They should drink 6 to 8 cups of fluid a day, and more in warmer weather or when exercising.
- Vitamins and minerals. Seniors who eat less or have digestive issues may become deficient in important vitamins and minerals. Consult your loved one’s healthcare provider about whether or not they need to supplement.
Older adults should also limit their intake of saturated and trans fats and use less salt. Everyone needs some salt, but too much can increase the risk of high blood pressure and heart disease.
If you are interested in working hands-on with older adults and making a difference in their lives, consider a career as a certified home health aide. Home health aide services allow seniors and those with disabilities or chronic illnesses to remain safe and healthy at home. By providing basic medical care and a range of personal care services, as well as teaching families how to support their loved ones, home health aides offer the assistance and companionship many older clients need to be able to age in place.
To become a certified home health aide, you need a high school diploma or general education degree (GED) and must complete a training program. Dorson Vocational Training Institute offers a Certified Home Health Aide/Homemaker program that is divided into two modules: online classroom requirements and skilled requirements. Once you have completed both training modules, you can apply for licensing through the Board of Nursing.
Dorson Vocational Training Institute is fully licensed by the State of New Jersey and our courses are certified by The National Health Association. We also offer affordable tuition payment plans and access to financial aid. To learn more about our Certified Home Health Aide/Homemaker program or other healthcare classes and training programs, call us at 973-676-6300 or fill out our online form. We are happy to answer your questions.