Common Nutrition Issues for Seniors

Eating nutritious meals not only improves physical energy and resistance to illness, but also supports a more positive mentality. The better we eat, the healthier we are! Eating well is especially important as we age and become more susceptible to health issues. Our nutrition experts at UMC at Pitman have compiled a list of the most common nutrition issues for seniors and how they can avoid developing these issues by supporting good eating habits.

Malnutrition occurs when the body does not get enough nutrients, leading to a weakened immune system, slower wound healing, and an increased risk of infection. Seniors may be at risk of malnutrition due to decreased appetite or a lack of access to healthy food options.

To avoid this, older adults should focus on eating nutrient-dense foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins.  Eating small, frequent meals throughout the day and staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water can also be beneficial. Reputable assisted living communities can help seniors avoid malnutrition by providing healthy, balanced meals and snacks throughout the day. UMC at Pitman, in particular, offers personalized meal plans to meet the unique dietary needs of each resident. On top of this, we provide a social aspect to eating by encouraging residents to meet in our spacious, communal dining room for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Dehydration is common for older adults, as they may not feel thirsty or may have difficulty accessing fluids. Dehydration can lead to serious health problems, including urinary tract infections, kidney stones, and confusion.

Seniors should aim to drink at least eight glasses of water per day and consume fluids throughout the day. They should also avoid caffeinated and sugary drinks, which can dehydrate the body. As we mentioned above, caregivers at Pitman ensure our residents eat three square meals a day and are properly hydrated throughout the day, especially when they spend more time outdoors in the summer sun.

Digestive Issues. Seniors may experience digestive issues, such as constipation or diarrhea, due to decreased physical activity, medication side effects, or a lack of fiber in their diet.

To prevent this, seniors should prioritize eating a diet rich in fiber, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans. Staying hydrated and engaging in regular physical activity, such as walking or yoga, also helps aid digestion on a day-to-day basis. Assisted living communities like ours know what to look out for and can help residents avoid digestive issues by providing access to healthy, fiber-rich foods and encouraging more physical exercise through diverse class offerings.

Vitamin Deficiencies. Older adults may experience vitamin deficiencies due to a lack of access to healthy food options or a decrease in the body’s ability to absorb nutrients. These deficiencies are not something to take lightly, as they can lead to serious health problems, such as anemia, osteoporosis, and even vision loss.

That being said, it is especially crucial for seniors to maintain a diet rich in vitamins and minerals. They can achieve this naturally by incorporating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins like chicken and fish into their meals each day. Older adults should also consider taking supplements, as recommended by their healthcare provider. Our health professionals at Pitman offer personalized dietary plans for each resident and work closely with primary care physicians to ensure all residents in our care receive the nutrients they need to thrive in our community.

Senior Nutrition is a Priority at UMC at Pitman

Here in our independent lifestyle community in NJ, we encourage healthy senior living for all residents, supported by a well-equipped team of licensed nurses, therapists, and other health specialists. Our care team can manage many complex medical conditions, all while ensuring a proper diet and exercise plan that is safe, results-driven, and fun! Popular activities like group Tai Chi and chair yoga also keep Pitman residents engaged and social with peers and neighbors who share the same interests.

If you or a loved one are interested in a healthy, social, and independent senior lifestyle, please call our community in Gloucester County to find out how we can help. To learn more about all of our senior care services, please visit us at: https://umcommunities.org/pitman/

This blog was originally published at https://umcommunities.org/pitman/blog/common-nutrition-issues-for-seniors/

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