Seniors at Risk for Malnutrition
Seniors who are most at risk for malnutrition are those who:
- Live alone.
- Do not eat foods from all 4 food groups.
- Are over 70 years.
- Drink more than 6 cups tea/coffee daily.
- Are house-bound.
- Have a poor appetite.
- Are on a budget.
By concentrating on getting enough key vitamins and minerals, for which seniors often fall short, they can improve and maintain their health. Some examples include:
- Vitamin B12 absorption lessens with age due to changes in the stomach. You can find vitamin B12 in meat, fish, eggs, and milk.
- More vitamin D is needed as we age because our skin makes less, and sun exposure declines, especially in the winter. Vitamin D is found in sardines, salmon, herring, margarine and milk.
- Calcium is needed to keep bones strong and prevent osteoporosis.
- Zinc is a mineral that can keep the immune system working. It is found in oysters, turkey, lima beans, bran cereal, nuts, milk and red meat.
Nutrient-rich food ideas:
- Hot cereal
- Sweet potatoes mixed with regular potatoes
- Soups made with milk
- Grated cheese on vegetables
- Yogurt with fruit
- Eggs prepared any way
- Canned tuna added to pasta or salads
Activity is important
- Being active can provide some protection against chronic illnesses such as osteoporosis, diabetes, joint problems and heart disease. In fact, a US researcher improved muscle strength by 160 percent in the very frail elderly in nursing homes, by having them weight train for 8 weeks! (average age 90).
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