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Senior Malnutrition Risks

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Avoid Senior Malnutrition Risks by concentrating on getting enough key vitamins and minerals, for which seniors often fall short.

Senior Malnutrition Risks

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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.

Fruit Yogurt Parfait

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.

Senior's should avoid the following products:

  • Raw fish and shellfish, including oysters, clam, mussels and scallops.
  • Raw or unpasteurized milk or cheese.
  • Soft cheeses such as Brie, Camembert, blue-veined and Mexican-style cheese. (Hard cheeses, processed cheeses, cream cheese, cottage cheese or yogurt need not be avoided).
  • Luncheon meats.
  • Raw or lightly cooked egg or egg products including salad dressings, cookie or cake batter, sauces and beverages such as egg nog.
  • Raw meat or poultry.
  • Raw alfalfa sprouts which have only recently emerged as a recognized source of food-borne illness.
  • Unpasteurized or untreated fruit or vegetable juice. When fruits and vegetables are made into fresh squeezed juice, harmful bacteria that may be present can become part of the finished product. Most juice in the United States, 98-percent, is pasteurized or otherwise treated to kill harmful bacteria.

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).