You may think that diet is less important after the age of 65. It’s just as important. Here are four things you need to know about nutrition for your aging parent.
Calcium is Important
Calcium isn’t absorbed by the intestines as easily in old age. Seniors are also less likely to go outside and spend time in the sun. At the same time, the kidneys don’t retain as much calcium as they do in a younger adult.
To ensure a senior gets enough calcium for strong bones and teeth, doctors recommend increasing calcium-rich foods. Some may recommend a supplement. Foods that are rich in calcium include low-fat milk, almonds, broccoli, figs, and sardines. Those are just a few that are worth increasing.
Include Many Fresh Vegetables and Fruits
The antioxidants in fruits and vegetables are vital to a senior citizen’s health. Make sure your parent is eating a variety of fruits like figs and berries. Berries have been found to help with brain health. Figs are high in calcium.
Leafy green vegetables are important. Other vegetables that are rich in antioxidants are bell peppers, beets, tomatoes, onions, and artichokes.
Multiple Light Meals Help Stabilize Blood Sugar Levels
One large meal increases blood sugars in a rush. Seniors don’t tend to have large appetites, so a larger meal may make them feel uncomfortable.
Smaller meals served throughout the day often make it easier to get all recommended nutrients. Instead of breakfast, lunch, and dinner, you could offer light meals every three or four hours. With smaller meals, the blood sugar levels stabilize and help prevent that blood sugar rush and crash that follows meals where a carb was offered.
There’s an Easy Way to Build a Healthy Meal
One of the easiest ways to set up meals for your elderly mom and dad is by using the “healthy plate” guidelines. This formula is easy to remember.
Divide the dinner plate into quarters. One quarter should contain a whole grain. One quarter contains a lean protein like baked cod or roast chicken breast. The remaining half should be fruits and vegetables.
Your parents may hate cooking. After a lifetime of preparing meals for a family, some seniors simply get tired of cooking for one or two. Quick frozen or takeout meals become the norm. Don’t let that happen.
Elderly care services cover many of the activities that seniors must complete each day. Caregivers can help create a menu of smaller meals, prepare the dishes, and eat with your parent. The companionship will do a lot for your parent’s mood. Learn more about elderly care by calling today.