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Why Should Elderly People Change Their Diets?

According to the British Nutrition Foundation, life expectancy is on the rise and now approximately 16 percent of the population is over 65. However, quality of life is just as important as the length of life, and what we put into our bodies can have either a positive or negative effect on this. Activity professionals, relatives and friends can benefit from certain dietary changes, along with their elderly loved ones. Read on to explore these benefits. 

Physical Changes

The older we get, the more your body changes as does its dietary needs. The skin becomes drier, bones become brittle and the body loses the ability to process nutrients the way it used to. B12 absorption and Vitamin D production decreases as we age therefore you may need to introduce a multivitamin or add some more oily fish to the diet to increase levels of these nutrients. These vitamins are important for nutrition and help produce red blood cells as well as help prevent rheumatoid arthritis. Add some monounsaturated fats to keep skin moist by introducing avocados and nuts into the diet. 

Changing Energy Levels

Lower levels of energy among older adults is normal and some nutrients are required in lower quantities as we age. On the other side, some nutrients are required in higher amounts as the body is no longer able to absorb them as well as it once did. Elderly adults should increase protein intake as the body’s ability to produce this decreases as we age and the loss of muscle mass is normal. As an activity specialist, you can also introduce some light exercise activities to help boost energy and to help keep weight to a healthy level.

Boosting the Immune System

As we age, the immune system is not quite as good as it once was at combating disease. Even the common cold can be problematic to elderly people and can result in complications. Boost the immune system by adding probiotics, prebiotics, zinc and vitamins to the diet. These can be found in yogurts, fruits and vegetables. Relatives of an elderly person may want to introduce outdoor activities and ways to help get a good night’s sleep as this also aids the immune system in fighting infection.  

Engage on a daily with the person you are caring for to ensure that they are enjoying their food and eating regular meals. You might want to introduce some activities such as cooking into their lives to allow them to experiment with new ways of getting the nutrition they need.