Monday, March 9, 2015

Working with your Senior to Create a Healthy Diet

March is National Nutrition Month and a great time to review your senior’s diet and make sure they are eating properly. Nutritional needs can change as you age and also depending on certain health conditions. Educate yourself about any special requirements for your loved one’s diet as you start planning meals. There are many ways that you can support them in eating right and enhancing their health and wellbeing.

  • Prepare meals ahead of time

When you go to visit, spend time preparing some meals for the week (or longer) with your elderly parent. Making larger batches and then breaking them into smaller portions that can be frozen or refrigerated can make meal times more convenient. Instead of having to prepare and cook all of the ingredients, all your senior has to do is reheat it.

  • Buy seasonal produce

This can be a great way to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into their diet while still being cost conscious. If they are on a limited budget, Asheville farmers markets can be a valuable resource during the summer and fall, and buying seasonally in the grocery store can help too. Go for a wide range of colors to get more vitamins and nutrients. You can also stock up and can or freeze extras for use throughout the year.

  • Increase calcium and fiber; decrease sodium

Focus on including foods that are rich in fiber such as beans, whole grains, and produce. This can not only help your senior to feel fuller, it can also help to reduce cholesterol. They are also a good source of essential nutrients. Osteoporosis can be a concern with aging, so getting enough calcium can help protect bones. Many processed foods are high in sodium which can increase blood pressure and weight gain as well as contribute to other problems.

  • Stay hydrated

Dehydration can increase risk of urinary tract infections, dizziness, fainting, heart palpitations, constipation, fatigue, and more. Seniors may not always feel very thirsty, but it is important to keep them drinking. Adding fresh fruit to water can give it some flavor as well as health benefits. A good rule of thumb is to drink approximately eight eight-ounce glasses of water each day.

  • Eat together

Make time to share meals with your senior when possible. If you can’t be there, arrange for other family members or friends to join them. Eating with company can help to increase their appetite if it has been lagging and also support them in making healthier choices.

If getting groceries or preparing meals is a challenge for your elderly parent, hiring an in-home care provider can be a valuable asset. They can assist your loved one with shopping, carrying in and putting away groceries, and preparing meals. This can not only increase their safety, but also provide them with more options for sticking to a healthy diet. To arrange for in-home senior care for your loved one, call Always Best Care of Asheville-Hendersonville at (828) 989-7263 or visit

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