Many family caregivers go to great lengths to ensure they’re doing the best for their senior loved ones. However, some family caregivers may be doing their loved ones a disservice by continuing to believe certain myths about nutrition for aging adults. There are certain misconceptions about senior nutrition that have been accepted as true not only by society but also by some health professionals, at least until the last decade. Here are the top three senior nutrition myths most commonly accepted by family caregivers. Knowing the truth about them will help you ensure optimal levels of health and wellness for your aging parent.
1. Seniors Have Decreased Nutritional Needs
Even if your parent’s activity level has been reduced, this doesn’t mean your loved one’s nutritional requirements have decreased as well. Restricted nutrient consumption can lead to serious health problems, including malnourishment. Some elderly people, especially those with advanced health conditions, actually have increased nutritional needs that must be met on a daily basis. Taking prescription medications may also require seniors to increase their intake of certain vitamins and nutrients.
A well-balanced diet is necessary for seniors to maintain a healthy weight, increase energy levels, and enjoy a higher quality of life as they age. Protein and various vitamins are essential for optimal bone, muscle, and joint health, and seniors should eat foods high in iron, folate, zinc, and vitamins A, B, and C to boost their immune systems. Nutritious foods packed with antioxidants, flavanols, vitamins, and other nutrients can widen blood vessels, strengthen the capillary walls, and boost circulation, which can reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
Eating nutrient-rich meals isn’t the only way older adults can boost their wellbeing. Seniors who want to remain healthy as they age can benefit in a variety of ways when they receive professional at-home care. Fort Myers, FL, Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one accomplish daily tasks, prevent illness, and focus on living a healthier and more fulfilling life.
2. Decreased Appetite Is Normal
A decrease in appetite is commonly attributed to the aging process. However, a diminished appetite is often an indicator of a more severe underlying problem. For instance, a senior who has tooth pain may have difficulty chewing, making mealtimes unpleasant and leading to what appears to be a decrease in appetite. Reduced appetite may also be a warning sign of depression or dementia, according to several studies. Changes in appetite should always warrant a checkup with the family physician to ensure overall health and wellness.
If your loved one’s appetite has decreased because of a condition such as dementia or Alzheimer’s, compassionate help is just a phone call away. Without the right assistance, Alzheimer’s can be challenging for seniors and their families to manage. If you’re looking for professional Alzheimer’s care, Fort Myers Home Care Assistance provides high-quality care aging adults and their families can count on. All of our hourly and live-in caregivers are trained to help seniors with Alzheimer’s live happier and healthier lives, and we also provide specialized dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care.
3. Seniors Can’t Be Both Overweight & Malnourished
It may seem reasonable to think that when seniors carry a few extra pounds, they cannot also be malnourished, but this simply isn’t true. Weight gain isn’t always about the amount of food being consumed—it’s about the types of food as well. An abundant diet isn’t healthy if it doesn’t provide the nutrients the body requires to operate at maximum efficiency. If your loved one is overweight, make sure he or she has the ability to prepare or obtain fresh, healthy meals. If he or she is unable to do so because of a health condition or mobility issue, consider using a meal delivery service or hiring a professional caregiver who can prepare healthy meals according to your loved one’s dietary preferences and nutritional needs.
Seniors who need help preparing nutrient-dense meals should consider professional in-home care. Elderly home care providers can benefit aging adults in a variety of ways. From cooking nutritious meals to offering timely medication reminders, the dedicated caregivers at Home Care Assistance are available to help your elderly loved one 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Schedule a free in-home consultation by giving us a call today at (239) 449-4701.