Did you know “Poor nutrition and malnutrition occur in 15 to 50 percent of the elderly population … and because of physical limitations or financial hardship, many seniors don’t eat as well as they should?”1 This is a common problem among seniors that should and really could be avoided. Perhaps it isn’t as much of a challenge with your current residents, but may be a huge concern by a family member looking for a loved one. Everyone’s, not just your residents’, nutrition is very important and it can be monitored and improved with a few simple alterations in diet, and lifestyle. A dedication to this handy and healthy checklist can reduce, “unwellness or exacerbate some chronic illness.”
Follow a few simple, quick tips to make a huge impact in your nutrition and wellness habits.2
Water is probably the most important item to have in your diet. As you age, your body needs more water than it did when it was younger. Even though you may not feel thirsty, aim to drink water six times a day. It may seem like a lot, but drinking water is much better for your body than tea, coffee, and sodas.
Eat less salt
It is easy to put salt on your food and perhaps even a habit you don’t know you do as frequently as you might, however a lot of salt intake has been proven to be harmful to the body. “Too much can increase the risk of high blood pressure and heart disease.” Salt is naturally found in foods like meat and eggs but the majority of salt intake comes from the salt you put on your food. Make a point to TASTE food first, then make a decision on how much or even if you need salt. Maybe even think of another spice or seasoning as a substitute.
Intake vitamins and minerals
Vitamins and minerals play a huge role in your overall health. Eat foods like fruits and vegetables. For older adults focusing on foods with calcium is essential. Including calcium, along with vitamin D and sufficient exercise, in your diet can reduce the risk of osteoporosis. What about a little more vitamin C to boost your immune? Or vitamin B to help avoid the blues?
Aside from the things you put into your body, you should be aware of what you do to your body. Get up and move. Exercise, it is healthy for you. According to runningforfitness.org, “running is an excellent sport for people, as they get older.” Take the Canadian athlete Ed Whitlock for example. He has run a marathon at the age of 73. Ok, so maybe running isn’t your thing. Walking is great and you can enjoy the great outdoors and perhaps a little piece and quiet. Ever tried yoga? Chair yoga is a great way to stay fit. Talk to your activity or fitness team. They will have many ideas and options that are best for YOU!
Benjamin Franklin says it best, “Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.” Tomorrow won’t be any better, easier or different. Just one day later in a plan to improve what is already great – YOU! Of course we can all be better at something, but you’ve got to just go do it. It’s never too late. Get up, get healthy and get out there and enjoy spring!