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Nutrition’s Important Role in At-Home Senior Care

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Caregivers should never underestimate the importance of nutrition in elderly at-home care. When seniors don’t get the appropriate nutrition, they’re more likely to experience physical health issues and cognitive decline. Here are a few tips to help you address your senior loved one’s nutritional needs.

Know the Reasons Behind Poor Nutrition

If a senior has a dedicated caregiver, he or she is unlikely to develop chronic malnutrition. However, this doesn’t mean the senior is receiving all the nutrition he or she needs on a daily basis. Mild malnutrition in the senior years can be caused by poor access to healthy foods as well as the physiological changes that come with age. Seniors may experience diminished appetites or have difficulty eating due to dentures. Watch out for any changes to your loved one’s dietary habits, and look for ways to fill in nutritional gaps. For example, if your loved one can no longer eat dairy products, it may limit his or her calcium intake. Look for other sources of calcium like beans, lentils, and almonds, which your loved one can eat without digestive discomfort.

Consider hiring a professional caregiver if your senior loved one needs help preparing healthy meals. Although it may be challenging to find a reliable, highly rated home care agency, Philadelphia, PA, families can turn to Home Care Assistance. Our respite and live-in caregivers are expertly trained to assist seniors with a wide array of important tasks, including cooking, bathing, light housekeeping, and exercise.

Recognize the Signs of Poor Nutrition

If your loved one isn’t getting the essential nutrients, he or she may start to lose weight, bruise more easily, and take a longer time to recover from injuries. One of the most common signs of poor nutrition is unexplained fatigue. If your loved one is tired all the time and unusually pale, an iron deficiency may be to blame. Hair is another useful litmus test for nutrition. Because each strand is made up of protein, hair may indicate whether your loved one is getting adequate protein in his or her diet. If your loved one starts to lose hair at an unusual rate, it may be due to poor nutrition. Other signs of inadequate nutrition include mouth sores, diarrhea, poor appetite, and irritability.

Seniors can face a variety of challenges as they age, many of which can be mitigated with the help of professional in-home caregivers who provide high-quality elderly home care. Philadelphia families trust in Home Care Assistance to help their elderly loved ones age in place safely and comfortably.

Develop a Healthy Meal Plan

To create a healthy meal plan for your loved one, you need to know the nutrients he or she needs and the foods that should be avoided. To find out if your loved one is deficient in any major nutrients, a routine physical should suffice. Blood tests can gauge deficiencies in everything from vitamins to omega-3 fatty acids. Once you know which aspects of your loved one’s diet need to be changed, you can create a meal plan that fills in nutritional deficiencies. To ensure success, tailor the meal plan to your loved one’s tastes and needs. For example, when creating a meal plan for seniors with dentures, crunchy almonds aren’t a viable protein source. Easy to swallow, slow-cooked meats are preferable.

Get Inspired by Popular Senior Diet Plans

When creating healthy meals for your loved one, get inspired by popular senior diet plans. The DASH diet is a heart-healthy plan designed to lower blood pressure. The MIND diet is similar to the DASH diet, and it’s specifically designed to ward off Alzheimer’s disease.

Switching to nutritious meals can be a difficult task for some seniors. If your loved one needs help maintaining healthy habits and accomplishing daily tasks, a Philadelphia caregiver from Home Care Assistance can help. Our caregivers are expertly trained to provide mental and social stimulation, assist with exercise, prepare nutritious meals, and much more. To learn about our high-quality in-home care plans, give us a call at (215) 645.4663 or (484) 643.4663 today.

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