For elderly citizens living on their own, it can be difficult getting proper nutrition. Poor nutrition and a lack of eating are common problems among senior citizens, especially ones who don’t have friends or family available to help assist them with grocery shopping and cooking. Older people tend to have smaller appetites and only eat around 1,200 calories of food per day, compared to the healthy standard of 2,000 per day. Seniors often lose interest in food because of a variety of treatable conditions including ulcers, depression, dementia, thyroid disease, and denture pain. But according to Dr. Amy Ehrlich of the Montefiore Medical Center’s Geriatrics Division in New York, tossing your loved one a pre-packaged meal for dinner just isn’t going to cut it. To maintain a healthy lifestyle, elderly people should eat frequent small meals of fresh foods and make up for nutrition deficiencies with supplements between meals.
Since the nutritional needs of senior citizens are different from those of their children and grandchildren. Studies have shown that all-natural nutritional supplements can help decrease the risk of disease and fill in what’s missing in elderly people’s diets. Older people can often benefit from taking Vitamin B-12 supplements because they tend to have lower amounts of stomach acid to aid digestion. Without Vitamin B-12, the elderly are at risk of anemia, blood-cell disorders, memory loss, and decreases in motor function. Older adults can also benefit from taking folic acid supplements because this vitamin helps decrease the risk for cardiovascular diseases and strokes. If you are unable to access fresh, organic foods rich in folic acid like spinach, oranges and lentils, the dietary supplements can pick up the slack.
Calcium and Vitamin D are very important to the diets of elderly people because they maintain strong bones to prevent fractures. Since many elderly people are unable to digest dairy foods, they aren’t getting enough calcium in their diets. Most people need about 1,200 mg of calcium each day, and supplements made from either calcium carbonate or calcium citrate are the most effective. Vitamin E is another highly recommended dietary supplement for elderly adults because this vitamin has been known to reduce the risk of common ailments. Older men typically need more Vitamin E than older women do, and supplements can be added to diets that don’t include enough raw nuts and natural oils.
Before beginning a nutritional supplement regimen, elderly adults should consult their doctors to prevent any potentially dangerous drug interactions. Sometimes over-the-counter supplements can interact with and negate the crucial purposes of prescription medications, such as blood thinners. Above all, the elderly must use caution when adding anything new to their daily diet routine.
It’s devastating to think that the people who raised us are struggling with something as manageable as nutrition, but nonetheless, it’s a growing problem in our society. Decreased mobility and decreased desire for food simply worsens the problem, leading to preventable malnutrition. Although it’s always best to obtain nutrients from healthy foods, supplements can come to the rescue when fruits and vegetables are out of reach.