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Member Comments for the Article:
Nutrition and the Elderly
Are the Seniors in Your Life Eating Well?
5/16/2011 10:29:27 AM
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 http://www.personalcarewholesaler.com. 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.
3/21/2010 4:58:53 PM
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.
5/27/2008 4:28:29 PM
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.
Parkinson's Disease and other problems can make swallowing very difficult for the elderly, so thick liquids would then be far better than things like nuts that can be aspirated when the throat muscles aren't working right. If they "breathe in" nuts or seeds to their lungs, it's very dangerous. So a way to help with that is to be sure they have a simple-to-use blender and can puree healthy foods into a hot soup or healthy cold smoothie.
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