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Eating and Aging: 10 Tips for Healthy Nutrition- ANAHEIM HILLS

Seniors are particularly vulnerable to malnutrition, which occurs when the body does not get enough nutrients including proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals, according to Medline Plus. “Maintaining a nutrient-dense diet is critically important for older adults because of the impact of food intake on health,” according to the Institute of Medicine (US) Food Forum. “Years of research have demonstrated that diet quality has a huge effect on physical condition, cognitive condition, bone health, eye health, vascular function, and the immune system.”

Aging is often accompanied by several factors that negatively influence eating habits among seniors. According to the Institute of Medicine (US) Food Forum, these factors include:

  • Loss of appetite and changes in taste and smell, which can result in lower intake of healthy, nutritious foods.
  • Oral health decline such as untreated tooth decay, gum disease, tooth loss, dry mouth, and oral cancer, which can deter seniors from eating healthy proteins and fresh fruits and vegetables. A reduced ability to swallow can also impact food choices.
  • Mobility and transportation limitations can also impact healthy eating habits, as these limitations can make it difficult for seniors to go grocery shopping, lift grocery bags, safely store groceries, and take time to prepare healthy, home-cooked meals.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) provides 10 healthy eating tips for people ages 65 and older. Encourage your senior parent to do the following in order to achieve optimal health:

  1. Drink plenty of liquids. With age, you may lose some of your sense of thirst. Drink water often. Low-fat or fat-free milk or 100 percent juice also helps you stay hydrated. Limit beverages that have lots of added sugars or salt.
  1. Make eating a social event. Meals are more enjoyable when you eat with others. Invite friends or family to join you or take part in a potluck at least twice a week.
  1. Plan healthy meals. Avoid high-calorie foods with little nutritional value, such as potato chips, sugar-sweetened drinks, candy, baked goods, and alcoholic beverages.
  1. Know how much to eat. Learn to recognize how much to eat so you can control portion size.
  1. Vary your vegetables. Include a variety of different colored vegetables to brighten your plate. Most vegetables are a low-calorie source of nutrients. Vegetables are also a good source of fiber.
  1. Eat for your teeth and gums. Many people find that their teeth and gums change as they age. People with dental problems sometimes find it hard to chew fruits, vegetables, or meats. Don’t miss out on needed nutrients. Eating softer foods can help. Try cooked or canned foods like unsweetened fruit, low-sodium soups, or canned tuna.
  1. Use herbs and spices. Foods may seem to lose their flavor as you age. If favorite dishes taste different, it may not be the cook. Maybe your sense of smell, sense of taste, or both, have changed. Medicines may also change how foods taste. Add flavor to your meals with herbs and spices.
  1. Keep food safe. Don’t take a chance with your health. A food-related illness can be life threatening for an older person. Throw out food that might not be safe. Avoid certain foods that are always risky for an older person, such as unpasteurized dairy foods. Other foods can be harmful to you when they are raw or undercooked, such as eggs, sprouts, fish, shellfish, meat, or poultry.
  1. Read the Nutrition Facts label. Make the right choices when buying food. Pay attention to important nutrients to know as well as calories, fats, sodium, and the rest of the Nutrition Facts label. Ask your doctor if there are ingredients and nutrients you might need to limit or to increase.
  1. Ask your doctor about vitamins or supplements. Food is the best way to get nutrients you need. Should you take vitamins or other pills or powders with herbs and minerals? These are called dietary supplements. Your doctor will know if you need them. More may not be better. Some can interfere with your medicines or affect your medical conditions.

These healthy eating tips can be incredibly overwhelming for a senior working to make a lifestyle change and embrace healthy eating habits. If your senior parent struggles with malnutrition, or is unable to grocery shop and prepare healthy meals, call SYNERGY HomeCare of Corona, Riverside, or Anaheim Hills. SYNERGY HomeCare in-home caregivers can help your senior parent gain optimal nutrition and reignite an interest in food. SYNERGY HomeCare of Corona, Riverside, and Anaheim Hills in-home caregivers can assist your senior parent with:

Menu planning. To ensure your senior parent eats the right foods to stay healthy, SYNERGY HomeCare in-home caregivers can assist with preparing a well-balanced grocery list. As part of our home care meal service, we can also help your family member clip coupons, find the best deals, monitor on-hand food supplies, dispose of old outdated food, and go grocery shopping.

Mealtime feeding assistance. Unintentional weight loss affects more than a quarter of people over age 65. It may be a signal that a senior needs home care meals or feeding assistance. Research shows that feeding assistance, either during or between meals, can improve a senior’s daily fluid and food consumption needed to maintain a healthy weight.  

Meal preparation. Studies show that more than half of all seniors living at home are undernourished or malnourished. An unbalanced diet, the body’s inability to properly absorb food, and depression are possible reasons. As part of our home care meal services, our trained in-home caregivers can assist with meal preparation and monitor the food and fluid intake of your senior parent to ensure healthy nutrition. Once a senior parent or disabled family member can no longer cook a nourishing meal for themselves, it won’t be long before their health suffers. As part of our home care meal service, our in-home caregivers can prepare complete, nutritionally balanced breakfasts, lunches, and dinners with the right portion sizes for good health.

Anaheim Hills is part of a national franchise of non-medical home care offices dedicated to providing exceptional and affordable service to anyone of any age.  SYNERGY HomeCare caregivers are available 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, to those in need – including seniors, expectant moms, those suffering from sports injuries and debilitating illnesses, and more.  SYNERGY HomeCare of Corona & Riverside can be found online at The location also hosts active social media pages on Facebook and Twitter. Ken and Anna can be reached at 714- 706-1613 and [email protected].