Elderly Care – The Importance of Eating Well. It is important for elderly people to maintain their health and energy, and to do this eating nutritious foods is vital. We need a balanced diet as we age to support all the changes in the body.
It is common for older people to have a small appetite, which can lead to low energy and weight. If this is the case, a useful source of energy is fat.
Nutritious sources of fat include: oily fish, cheese, avocado, vegetable oils and peanut butter.
Carbohydrate is a source of energy and fibre that helps to prevent constipation, which affects the quality of life of many older people.
Nutritious sources of carbohydrate include: wholegrain cereals, brown rice and pasta, wholemeal bread, fruits and vegetables, potatoes and pulses.
Protein is needed for building and repairing body tissues. This is an important nutrient as when we age damaged tissue and wounds heal more slowly.
Nutritious sources of protein include: dairy products like milk, cheese and yoghurt, meat and poultry, eggs and pulses.
Vitamin and mineral deficiencies are more common in older people. These include the B vitamins, which are important for the brain and the nervous system, and potassium, where deficiency is associated with depression, confusion and muscular weakness. A varied diet of fruits and vegetables, wholegrain cereal products and dairy will provide these nutrients.
Vitamin C and zinc are important in supporting the immune system. Vitamin C is found mainly in fruits and some vegetables. Low intakes are associated with susceptibility to pressure sores and infection.
The best sources of zinc are animal products such as meat, dairy, eggs and shellfish, as well as nuts and seeds.
Vitamin D supports the maintenance of healthy bones and muscle strength, and deficiency can lead to bone fractures. Calcium supports normal blood clotting and muscle function. Deficiency leads to osteoporosis, a common condition as we age.
Nutritious sources of calcium include: dairy products including milk, cheese and yoghurt, fish with soft bones such as canned salmon and dark green leafy vegetables.
Iron is an essential part of haemoglobin in red blood cells which carries oxygen around the body. Deficiency causes anaemia in older people.
Nutritious sources of iron include: red meat, dark green leafy vegetables, pulses and some dried foods.
As carers and family members we need to ensure that our older people are eating well for them to live a happy, healthy and prosperous life. This is where River Garden Home Care can support you by providing quality elderly home care.