We all need good nutrition. It is no news but our nutritional needs are different at different stages of our lives. This especially stands true for senior citizens. They need the right kind of food to maintain good health and keep all the vitalities in check. Not too many elders get the right food they need due to several reasons. This, over the years, leads to malnutrition and adds to the already existing health problems, if any.
Let’s take a look at what happens when our bodies age.
As we grow, our muscles, bones and vital organs tend to become weak with time. Years of use and overuse has made them to become worn out. This is also one reason that as we grow older, we see significant changes in our physiological and perceptual self too. The changes that are happening also influence the person’s lifestyle, eating habits and their overall health.
What are the perceptual changes that occur?
The immediate and the most common perceptual changes that occur are a difference in their taste, hearing and smell. Taste is the most common problem faced by the elderly. They experience decreased sense due to the diminishing of tastebuds and sometimes do not have the appetite for food. This also causes them to eat fewer fruits and vegetables, decreasing their nutrition intake.
What are the physiological changes that occur?
Our ability to intake nutritious food also decreases due to reduced energy and bodily functions. As we age, our metabolic rate drastically decreases and we no more have the ability to digest heavy foods.
Malnutrition and vitamin deficiencies:
Varying degrees of malnutrition is seen in different elders. It occurs due to nutrition imbalance, poor intake of healthy food and by skipping or not taking proper medication. This in turn aids in the loss of appetite and a lack of general interest in keeping the overall health in check.
The most common deficiencies are the inadequate addition of calcium, folic acid, niacin and vitamin A, B, C, D & E in their diets. There may be many factors that lead to poor eating habits of elders, a few of which are:
- No interest in cooking or eating alone
- Depression and loneliness
- Loss of a partner or a close family member
- Financial problems
- Lack of healthy eating knowledge
- Underlying and undiagnosed diseases
- Fear of safety that stops them from going out (to buy groceries, etc)
Best steps to improve nutrition intake in elders:
Studies have shown that people above the age of 50 need to follow the below dietary plan, crafted to their needs.
- Fruits: 1.5 – 2.5 cups
- Vegetables: 2 – 3.5 cups
- Protein: 150 – 200 grams
- Grains: 150 – 200 grams
- Oil: 5 – 8 teaspoons
- Dairy & Dairy Products: 3 cups, fat free
- Sugars – as minimum as possible
This list includes the adequate nutrition needed by the elderly to maintain a healthy lifestyle. For senior citizens suffering from certain diseases, they can consult their doctors and chart out a dietary plan which they must follow religiously.
What does The Chennai Homes do?
At The Chennai Homes, we take this into consideration and cater to the individual needs of our residents and the recipes are designed by keeping nutrition for elderly in mind. We have a very strict vegetarian policy aiding them in their everyday meal intake. Our kitchens are regularly monitored for quality and we only use the best ingredients, sourced from the best places to prepare our meals. We have a beautiful centralized dining room that promotes socialization and the feeling of being a part of a family. Our medical personnel makes sure that each resident’s dietary requirement is met, right from breakfast, lunch to dinner. Their medication intake is also monitored from time to time. In case of any emergency, we have our staff on board with us 24×7.
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Would you like to know more about us? Why don’t you come over for taking a look at our beautiful community or feel free to call us at +91 99419 95555 with any of your queries. Eat healthy, stay healthy and live life to the fullest!