It's a fact of life that diet is important. This is true at every age, and certainly not exclusive to seniors, but it's also important to be aware that as we grow older, the needs of our body change. Some of this comes down to a different lifestyle with less activity, while other factors such as health conditions and certain medications can also play a part. With these in mind, it can be difficult to prepare nutritious meals for elders, but it's absolutely critical in order to remain healthy and reduce the risk of conditions such as heart disease.
Meal preparation services can play a crucial part in ensuring that a senior's diet is appropriate. In this article, we'll explore a few of the reasons behind the meal requirements of older Australians, and how the right assistance can make all the difference.
It's harder for seniors to absorb nutrients than other demographics.
Why is diet important for seniors?
Ageing requires lifestyle changes, but that doesn't have to mean a shift into a residential facility. In fact, there can be more benefit to be had from remaining independent at home, as long as this doesn't result in a decline in health and welfare. Diet plays a significant part in this, and if left to their own devices, an elder may develop bad eating habits, or simply be unaware of the changing needs of their body.
For example, it's harder for seniors to absorb nutrients than people in other age brackets, so if they're eating the same sorts of foods as a younger person, they could well be getting fewer essential vitamins and minerals. A common example that we see is calcium or vitamin D deficiencies, which can have serious consequences if not addressed.
As well as a lessened ability to extract nutrients from food, reduced mobility can also play a part in causing negative changes to a diet. If an elder finds it uncomfortable to stand for long periods of time, hovering over a stove for an hour or more while cooking may not be realistic. This could lead to cooking simpler, less healthy meals, or not eating at all.
Satisfying a healthy appetite
In addition to the types of food being consumed by a senior, there's also an important discussion to be had surrounding portions. Undernourishment is common amongst older people, with 10-44 per cent of older Australians at risk of undernutrition according to The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners. This could be down to factors such as an inability to cook, or changing tastes and appetites as a result of medical conditions.
For seniors living alone, the idea of preparing a meal for a group of people can be daunting.
Even if a senior may not feel like eating, having in home assistance when it comes to meal preparation is one of the best ways to ensure that regular, correctly-sized and healthy meals are being consumed. Like all in home care services, meal preparation can be tailored to an elder's needs, so if there's a particular type of food that they do feel like, the right carer can facilitate that in their diet.
There's also the social side of things to consider, with meals being a very common way of meeting up with friends and enjoying conversation and companionship. For seniors living alone, the idea of preparing a meal for a group of people can be daunting, which in turn translates to not having people around. Meal preparation assistance – be it the cooking itself or other jobs like shopping and cleaning – can take the burden of any stressful tasks away, and let elders focus on great food and great company while remaining independent at home.
To find out more about meal preparation services, be sure to contact Bannister In Home Care today.