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Nutrition and the Elderly

Are the Seniors in Your Life Eating Well?


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  • As a senior, I can relate to some of these suggestions. I can get around, but shopping is one thing I have trouble with. My neighbor goes with me and I do the driving and picks up my groceries, then I take her around to other places she needs to go since she doesn't drive. Works great for both of us.
  • Let's keep those seniors supported.
  • Some strokes actually change the way taste is perceived making even sweet or previously pleasant foods taste very bitter.

    I'll second the previous comment about being careful with Parkinson's or stroke patients with swallowing difficulties. Rice or bean skins seems bland but are too easy to aspirate unless sort of "glued" down with gravy or sauces or solids.
  • I find that our Senior Citizen Center foods are like the greasy bucket with too much sugar and sometimes too much spice. They have meals 2 times a week and its a great social event. But because of the quality of the food, I won't go there.
  • I don't mind shopping since I usually find handicapped parking and there are electric carts. But hauling them into the house can be very laborious.
  • At 65, I don't consider myself all that elderly but a lot of the time I am just not interested enough to plan a meal. I will wait to eat until I get hungry and may find myself eating total crap or snack-type foods because when I get hungry, I am ready to eat right then. My 85-year-old mother is actually better than I am because she wants to put "3 squares" on the table a day, which is more food than I want. I eat in order not to hurt her feelings and wind up eating way too much.
  • Since I am , along with my brother and sisters, trying to help our mom eat more, I was looking for more ideas to get her to have healthy snacks.
    At the moment , the whole idea is to just get her to eat.
    Thanks for the article.
    A well explained article. I just loved it. The writers have a very thorough knowledge. I would urge my grandparents to read this article.
    This is an excellent article here by Leanne and Nicole. They are very thorough in their knowledge of senior dietary problems. As they indicate, there are many different factors that can contribute to a deficient diet. In southwest Florida, our agency provides non-medical home care for seniors, which includes cooking them regular, nutritious meals. Seniors are a national treasure and we must take care of them.
    I believe my grandparents ate well when they were young. They ate fresh food, none of those processed stuff. Towards the end of her days though my grandma ate looots of processed food. Not to mention she loved shopping at Of course she's just points and i do the real shopping. Anyway that was a drastic change in her lifestyle and i believe it affected her health later on. We should all just go back to how our grandparents used to eat: Fresh and organic.
    While my grandma was aging (she lived to 97!), getting her to eat was incredibly difficult. There were a few things that did help her:

    1. Having someone feed her VERY small mouthfuls - I mean like 1/2 teaspoon at a time. (She was more likely to eat if my mom or I fed her than if a nurse did.)

    2. Only showing her little bit of food at a time. (When she saw too much food, it just overwhelmed her and she couldn't eat.)

    3. Eating icecream (always a favorite with her!) and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches without crusts really helped. Also, there are nutritional drinks, like Boost or Ensure, which she enjoyed.

    4. Not forcing her to eat on our schedule. Towards the end of her life, she had more and more trouble eating, so my family only encouraged and offered food. Sometimes she ate, sometimes she didn't. Sometimes we had to wait a few minutes and then ask again.

    I hope that maybe some of my family's experiences can help.

  • I am seeing some of this now with my parents. Their appetites have just decreased so much, and I think they do not get enough calories, and I know that they are not getting enough protein. My sister and I try to help them with the shopping and new ideas, but they are resistant to change, it is hard to change a lifetime of habits.
  • I believe nutritional deficiencies cause many of these problems in the elderly. For example: zinc deficiency alters potassium, magnesium, copper, phosphorus, sodium, calcium, levels which alters brain function and absorption of nutrients. Zinc deficiency also alters tastebuds and smell. I know stomach acids change and that also affects nutrient absorption. Hopefully you can change the stomach environment without drugs (because so many ALSO deplete nutrient absorption) which might help. Check HCA levels (hydrochloric acid). Iron deficiency causes fatigue and apathy ... you see what I mean?! (Iron deficiency also causes swallowing difficulties ... thinking of the poster who mentioned Parkinson's). We should not "accept" these things as "normal" aging! JMHO.
  • Listing physical difficulty needs to include obesity. Before I joined Sparkpeople, my back would hurt from standing at the kitchen stove. Thankfully, losing pounds has greatly helped relieve that. Thanks SP.

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