Nutrition and Hydration Week (13th – 19th March) aims to highlight, promote and celebrate improvements in the provision of nutrition and hydration locally, nationally and globally.
It’s important to understand that as our loved one’s age, their diets may need to change.
Generally, doctors will recommend a well-balanced diet for older adults, meaning that they should eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, proteins and whole grains to maintain and improve overall health.
In addition to eating a healthful variety of foods, there are specific things you can incorporate into your loved one’s diet to boost their health.
- Fruit and vegetables
- Beans, pulses, fish, eggs, meat and other proteins
- Potatoes, bread, rice, pasta and other starchy carbohydrates
- Dairy and alternatives
- Oils and spreads
- Staying hydrated
Water is vital for our bodies to work properly so it’s important to drink plenty. Not drinking enough can cause constipation, headaches, tiredness and irritability, and can also lead to dehydration.
Drink six to eight cups of liquid a day. This doesn’t have to be water – lower-fat milk and sugar-free drinks including tea and coffee all count. Try to limit fruit juices and smoothies
to a total of 150ml a day and avoid sugary fizzy drinks as they contain unnecessary calories that can lead to weight gain. Remember that as people get older their sense of thirst gets weaker so they can’t rely on feeling thirsty.
How to Help a Senior Make Dietary Changes
Making dietary changes can be difficult for anybody. It can be especially difficult for older adults, though, because people get stuck in habits. If your loved one needs to make dietary changes to increase their health and well-being, there are specific things that you, the caregiver, can do to help with the change.
Incorporate Changes Gradually
Older people are usually skeptical of change. They need to make small changes gradually. As the caregiver, you should reinforce this and make sure that your loved one is incorporating the new foods into their diet.
Set an Example
When an older adult has to change their diet for health reasons, they can feel singled out. Eating is a social activity and it is important to eat meals with your loved one. It is equally important that when you eat with them, you eat the same foods as them. When sitting down for a family meal, don’t make a special meal for your aging loved one and something different for everybody else. By eating with them and eating the same foods as them, the dietary changes being made won’t seem so drastic.
Regular meals are much better than snacking
It’s so easy for some people to overlook regular meals; finding food preparation a chore or too difficult, or simply forgetting to eat. Others know they need to eat regularly, but can’t be bothered to go to any trouble, so they end up eating all the wrong things, such as cakes, biscuits, chocolates, ready meals and other unhealthy choices. These are fine sometimes, as a treat, but good, healthy meals are better for nutrition and hydration.
At Right at Home we understand the importance of a good diet, and will ensure that our clients are supported to eat meals that they not only enjoy, but that also help them to remain healthy.
Support tailored to your needs
Our services include accompanying you or your loved ones to the shops, helping you to do your shopping, or we can agree a shopping list with you and do the shopping on your behalf. Then we can either prepare your meal, or support you whilst you do the preparation.