Nutrition for Older Adults

Nutrition for Older Adults: Eat Your Way to Good Health

Good nutrition is important at every stage of life. In fact, as you age, the risks for nutrition-related diseases such as heart disease and osteoporosis increase. Yet for millions of older Americans, maintaining healthful eating habits is a struggle. Many older adults not only eat meals low in nutrients, but skip meals altogether. Poor nutrition can lead to weight loss, lightheadedness, lethargy, loss of appetite, prolonged recovery from illness and disorientation.

If you or a loved one has gotten out of the habit of eating well, take heart that food can be fun at any age. Barnabas Health Hospice and Palliative Care Centers, which support local affiliates in West Orange, Newark, Long Branch and Van Dyke Hospice and Palliative Care Center in Toms River, suggest the following to help you get back on the road to proper nutrition and good health:

  • Make your mouth happy. Intensify tastes by adding flavors and sweeteners, such as herbs, sauces, syrup, butter flavoring, etc. In addition, combine different textures.
  • Sharpen your shopping skills. Consider doing your grocery shopping at convenient times when the store is not crowded. In addition, stretch your dollars by considering unit pricing, that way you can get the same food for less.
  • Enjoy food with friends. Whenever possible, make eating a fun social event. Invite friends or family to join you for meals or consider joining a community group dining program where you can make new friends.
  • Activate your appetite. By getting exercise and remaining physically active you can boost your mood, improve your health and increase your appetite.
  • Complement your cooking. If you can’t get all the nutrients you need from food, you may want to consider taking a vitamin and mineral supplement. Discuss with your physician which are best for you.

To learn more about eating a well-balanced diet, contact your physician or a Registered Dietitian. Also, be sure to consult with your doctor before making any changes to your current diet or exercise plan.