One of the major factors responsible for the deteriorating health conditions of elderly people is the lack of proper nutritional diet intake. Lack of proper nutrition in the body causes faster ageing, acute weakness, inadequate hormone functioning, cell damage, lack of energy and ability to lead an independent life. The older adults may encounter nutrition related problems such as:
- Reduced senses at the taste buds leaves a bland food taste experience
- Lack of regular thirst causing dehydration and improper hormone secretion
- Loss of muscles at the jaws causing chewing and swallowing problems
- Reluctance to take nutritional homemade food due to lack of taste
- Poor and irregular cravings and eating habits
Some Nutrition Facts for People Over the Age of 50 Years
Calcium and Vitamin D
People tend to lose calcium and bone density with ageing. After crossing the age of 50 years, special care should be taken to provide vitamin D rich foods including supplements to meet the requirement of 10 µg (400 IU) daily intake to retain the bone strength. The family members can also follow the Canada Food Guide that contains an elaborate account of food items and nutrition requirements for elderly adults. Some elderly patients with extreme low bone mineral count may require additional calcium supplements as per physician’s advice.
Fiber Rich Diet and Water Intake
The most common problem with seniors over the age of 50 years is the irregularity in bowel movements, reduced metabolism, constipation and associated disorders. With ageing, the efficiency of the organs in the digestive system is gradually reduced. Taking this on a serious note, the caregivers should include enough of fiber rich food; keep a track on the daily water and fluid consumption etc. Every elderly adult requires at least 3 liters of water consumption in 24 hours for keeping the body hydrated. The fiber rich foods include brown bread, brown rice, fruits, oats, cereals etc.
Vitamin B12 and Folic Acid
The folate and vitamin B12 are essential for the body to regulate the proper functioning of the nerves. The elderly people suffering from neurotic disorders should be given food rich in vitamin B to suffice the daily requirement of 1.5 µg (B12) and 200 µg (Folate).
The protein requirement differs to a slight extent for men and women. Women require more protein after attaining an age of 50 years. Lean meat, pulses, dairy products and eggs are good sources.
Some Essential Considerations
It is a known fact that you care for your elderly parents and grandparents. However, being too strict with their diet can be resistive and pressure on them. Do not adopt restrictive measures, as they can be annoyed or sometime stubborn. You can take a note of their food preferences to an extent if there is no risk factor. Though iron is essential for production of blood cells, but patients with constipation problems should not be given iron supplements or similar food items.
Nutrition is very important for the elderly people to stay healthy and fit. The seniors are often reluctant to take food at regular servings due to reduced appetite and lack of proper functioning of the taste buds. Often elderly members in the family show resistance to taking food at regular intervals due to loneliness. The family members can assort to assisted care services under such circumstances that can offer a good company for the seniors apart from deep caring provisions. Regular balanced diet is important at this age to eliminate the chances of weight loss, improper functioning of the organs, lack of energy etc.
Do you have any suggestions related to food and nutrition for elderly adults? If so, please share your valuable tips herein.