Older adult eating a nutritious orange.

Older Adults and Nutrition

Everyone needs good food to be at their best physically and mentally, and staying aware of daily needs is important when it comes to older adults and nutrition.

Developing nutrient deficiencies as one ages can lead to poor health and a lower quality of life, including depression. When moods are impacting your ability to take care of yourself, including eating nutritious meals, reach out to speak with a professional counselor to talk through your issues and improve your life.

Less Calories May Be Needed

When it comes to older adults and nutrition often fewer calories are needed, but nutrients are as important as ever.

Because less calories per day are needed, some find themselves gaining weight if they consume the same amount of calories as they did when they were younger. For example, postmenopausal women often find themselves gaining weight in the belly area because of this reduced need for calories paired with an estrogen level decline.

With this decline in caloric needs, priortize nutrients. Eating nutrient-rich foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and lean proteins can help. They will keep your calorie intake low while maximizing your nutritional intake.

Protein is an important component to good health for seniors because, acccording to studies, after the age of 30, 3-8% of muscle mass is lost in each following decade. Muscle loss and decreased strength can lead to other health issues, from fractures to feelings of weakness. A healthy diet rich in proteins may help.

Issues with Older Adults and Nutrition

There is a concrete connection between an individual’s wellbeing and their eating habits. Yet, there are many instances when seniors are not getting enough of the nutrients needed. Caregivers of older adults can learn about nutritional risks. Then, steer older adults toward more nutritious choices to improve their lives.

Possible reasons for a poor diet:

  • Age-related changes in appetite. 
  • Behavior or memory issues.
  • Depression causing loss of appetite.
  • Disease or illness.
  • Dental health that is poor.
  • Medications that interfere with nutrient absorption.
  • Social isolation creating a disinterest in cooking or eating.

It is clear that a reduced interest in eating healthy and managing one’s health with whole foods can be for a variety of reasons. It is essential to be aware of the risks. After all, aging comes with physical changes that could lead to calcium, vitamin, or protein deficiencies.

Also, throughout life, make an effort to stay hydrated. Older adults can be prone to dehydration as their bodies become less attuned to the signals of water being needed.

To benefit your overall health, commit to eating a variety of nutrient-rich foods and drinking enough water. The relationship between older adults and nutrition can be a healthy one. Eating well helps people to maintain good health, at every age.

If you are having trouble prioritizing your health, know that seniors who talk through their problems find it easier to help themselves.

Help is available.

Kendall Van Blarcom is a senior helping seniors. Contact Van Blarcom Consulting today for help with your personal problems. Or, reach out to provide support for an older adult in your life.

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Kendall E. Van Blarcom, Psy.M. Licensed Psychotherapist (Retired)

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