Senior Alternatives

Care Management and Home Care Services
Improving Life through Nutrition

June 28, 2012

Overview

Nutrition is crucial in terms of health and well-being and is important at every stage of life, especially in the elderly. When looking to improve quality of life for seniors, food provides energy, nutrients and other substances needed for health. Optimal nutrition reduces stress, enhances immunity, affects longevity and improves outlook and quality of life.

Body Function

Specific nutrients enhance an elder’s life by yielding energy, regulating blood pressure and glucose, improving eyesight in dim light and the myriad other tasks the body performs. Food choices made every day influence the body’s health and ability to function. By developing a nutritional diet for your elderly loved one, you are significantly lowering their risks of illness and injury.

Healthy Weight

Maintaining a healthy weight, specifically with regards to the elderly, greatly reduces the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and other chronic illnesses. One simple and effective way to minimize weight gain over time is to simply make small decreases in food and beverage intake and increase physical activity. It is important to pick an activity within the physical capability of the elderly loved one to prevent any accidental injuries.

Prevent Disease

The three leading causes of death in seniors and adults in the United States are heart disease, cancer, and stroke. Diabetes is also in the top ten. The risk for each of these diseases that can result in reduced quality of life, reduced mobility, blindness, amputation, osteoporosis or loss of independence can be reduced or nearly eliminated by diet modification. Both prevention and treatment are in part diet-related.

Immunity

Nutrition is crucial in regards to the immune response. Having protein-energy malnutrition will severely compromise the immune system. A deficiency in any individual nutrients such as zinc, selenium, copper, iron, vitamins A, C, E, and B6, as well as folic acid could greatly alter the immune response. Obesity also hinders immunity. Proper use of vitamins and minerals can help treat impaired immunity in the elderly.

Quality of Life

Aging adults want to stay healthy, and by incorporating good nutrition one can improve the quality of life. Poor eating patterns contribute to the progression of chronic diseases such as hypertension, heart disease, and cancer, and thus affect functional ability and the activities of daily living. Nutritional status is a major factor throughout life in disease prevention, treatment, and recovery of health.

 

Poor eating patterns contribute to the progression of chronic diseases such as hypertension, heart disease, and cancer, and thus affect functional ability and the activities of daily living.

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