Nutrition & Hydration Week: Nutritional needs for older adults
In honour of Nutrition and Hydration week, we thought there was no better team than our fantastic group of Wellbeing Advisors to take the lead on this one. ExtraCare’s award-winning Wellbeing Service is provided by on-site registered general nurses, supporting and empowering all residents to be proactive in managing their own health and to make informed decisions about their lifestyle. In this guest blog post, Sheila and Kate cover all things diet and nutrition for those in their later years.
How important is a well-balanced diet for older adults?
Nutrition and a well-balanced diet are important in all ages of life. Saying that, it can be more difficult to maintain a well-balanced diet when we get older. Living alone, poor health, medication, difficulties in chewing or swallowing and costs associated with healthy choices can affect making good nutritional decisions. It’s important to find out what factors are affecting your choices and then working around that.
What are the most important dietary needs for older adults?
It is usually advised that if it comes from nature then the body should get what it needs. Fruit, vVeg, beans, pulses, nuts, fish and lean meats etc. avoid processed food if you can. This is not always possible but replacing white bread for whole wheat bread and going for brown rice and pasta instead of white. Being mindful that sweets, crisps, and alcohol have no nutritional value and cutting back will help. Due to reductions in lean body mass and metabolic rate o. Older adults have lower calorie needs than younger adults. The energy requirements for people aged 51 and over are, 1600 – 2200 calories per day for women and 2000 – 2800 calories for men depending on activity level.
How much water should the average older adult be drinking?
The recommended daily fluid intake is 1.5 to 2.5 litres a day. This can be 8 to 10 cups of water. You can get fluid from fruits such as watermelon and oranges, avoid surgery drinks where possible.
Are there any particular supplements older adults should be taking?
Eating a variety of healthy foods is the best way to get a good source of vitamins and minerals. If one feels they need to add more to their diet it is advised they speak to their pharmacist or GP as some supplements may interact with medications.
What advice would you give somebody trying to vary their meals if they live alone?
When cooking make enough so you can freeze some to have on another day. You could buddy up with a friend and cook together or share your home cooked dinners/and soups. Overnight oats are super easy to make, add milk and yoghurt keep overnight in the fridge, when ready to eat you can add berries, banana or even honey. You could also add chia and flax seeds to the oats when storing them overnight this is a great source of protein, fibre, and omega 3. Have fruit available as an easy snack, apple and peanut butter is a very easy and quick snack to make which is full of goodness and may relieve a sweet craving. Also, keep water by your side and sip it throughout the day.
How does ExtraCare’s wellbeing programme help guide residents on the right dietary path for them?
Residents are always encouraged to come and speak to their Wellbeing Advisor for help and support. Finding out what impacts good decisions is key and making small changes can lead to a healthier, better life. Change begins within and seeking advice is a great start. The Wellbeing Service has great health advice and tips and is completely confidential.
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