6 Ways Poor Nutrition Impacts Older Adults

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6 Common Effects of Poor Nutrition on Seniors

By Ted Holmgren, 9:00 am on September 18, 2017

Good nutrition means a person is getting the appropriate amount of calories, vitamins and minerals, and macronutrients like fat and protein. However, poor nutrition is somewhat common among older adults, and it can lead to these health conditions.

1. Osteoporosis

This condition occurs when the body removes old bone material quicker than it can replace new material, and it is caused by a lack of calcium. Make sure your loved one gets plenty of calcium through dairy products, nuts, and fortified grains. Seniors also need vitamin D to properly absorb the calcium.

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 non-medical in-home care. Scottsdale families trust in Home Care Assistance to help their elderly loved ones age in place safely and comfortably.  

2. Diabetes

This is one of the most serious health conditions affecting seniors because modern diets tend to cause excessively high blood sugar levels. Diabetes can lead to many issues, including infections, vision loss, and limb loss. To keep diabetes at bay, seniors should remove processed sugars from their diets and eat more natural fibers.

3. Depression

Not all health conditions caused by nutrition are physical. Poor nutrition can make seniors susceptible to depression. Eating foods that contain B vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids, selenium, and vitamin D can keep the brain functioning correctly. These nutrients are typically found in fatty fish, seeds, nuts, eggs, legumes, and whole grains.

4. Tooth Decay

Tooth decay typically occurs if a senior is not eating enough calcium and consuming too many sugary foods and acidic beverages. One of the best ways to prevent tooth decay is to increase calcium intake while cutting back on soda and juice.

5. Heart Disease

Poor nutrition can lead to an increase in cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, and risk factors for heart disease. To prevent this issue, seniors need to reduce their trans fat and sodium intake because high sodium and saturated fats lead to high blood pressure. Omega-3 fatty acids and folate keep the heart working properly, so make sure your loved one eats more legumes and fatty fish. The risk of heart disease can also increase if your loved one does not eat enough fiber, but consuming plenty of whole grains, legumes, and fresh fruits and vegetables can provide the fiber he or she needs to remain healthy.

Seniors may need help from their family members when planning nutritious meals. Caring for a senior loved one can be rewarding, but it can also be overwhelming for family caregivers who have other responsibilities they need to focus on. For these families, the perfect solution is respite care. Scottsdale families rely on our caregivers whenever they need time to rest, work, run errands, and even go on vacation.

6. Gout

Gout is a buildup of uric acid crystals in the joints, and it leads to painful swelling that prevents movement. To stop gout before it causes permanent damage, seniors must pay attention to their nutrition. Eating red meat, whole milk, oysters, ice cream, butter, and poultry in excessive levels can lead to gout. It is important to maintain a balanced diet instead of eating excessive amounts of any type of food.

If your elderly loved one is living with a serious medical condition and needs help managing the tasks of daily living, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a Scottsdale caregiver agency you can trust. Our caregivers are available 24/7, there are no hidden fees in our contracts, and we offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee on all of our in-home care services. To request a free in-home consultation, call us at 480.448.6215 today.