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Proper Nutrition for Older Adults Helps Maintain Health

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It’s no secret that proper nutrition for older adults is crucial for a healthy body. What many people don’t recognize, however, is that nutritional requirements for adults change as we age. Nutritional specialists at Tufts University have developed the MyPlate system for older adults, which is a more advanced variation of the earlier food pyramid, supplying updated dietary advice for older individuals in particular.  

The MyPlate for Older Adults model contains important information on foods that are rich in vitamins and minerals and low in sugar, salt, and fat; however, it also offers guidance on topics such as advised physical activities and fluid consumption, issues that are of special concern for seniors. 

Because activity levels are oftentimes decreased, seniors tend to require fewer calories as they age, but they also still require equal or higher levels of nutrients and regular activity for ideal health. MyPlate for Older Adults recommends: 

  • Bright-colored vegetables, such as peppers and carrots 
  • Deeply-colored fruits, such as berries and melons 
  • Whole, fortified, enriched grains and cereals, like brown rice 
  • Low- and non-fat dairy products, including yogurt and low lactose milk 
  • Liquid vegetable oils and soft spreads, which contain less saturated and trans fats 
  • Spices instead of salt 
  • Liquids such as water and fat-free milk 
  • Physical activity, such as walking, resistance training, and light household chores 

In addition, further recommendations include taking advantage of options that are simpler to prepare and decrease waste, such as bags of frozen pre-cut vegetables and individual-portion cups of fruit. 

At San Diego Home Caregivers, we realize it can be a challenge to help aging loved ones follow a nutritious diet. Our trained and experienced caregivers can help plan and prepare nourishing, appetizing meals according to your loved one’s specific nutritional needs, as well as help in a variety of other waysContact us online or call us at (619) 487-9000 to learn more about our top-rated San Diego senior care and to request a free in-home evaluation. 

Senior Nutrition: Warning Signs That May Point to a Lack of a Nutrient-Rich Diet

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A mother’s love for her child knows no age limits. And parents of all ages want more than anything to shield their children from difficulty, which in some cases could mean covering up their own challenges. Furthermore, when their loved ones live at a distance, it can be hard to really know without a doubt just how healthy older parents are. 

One of the leading challenges of aging is the decline in satisfying nutritional needs. If you believe your elderly loved ones might possibly not be getting adequate senior nutrition to continue to be healthy and well, this short analysis can help identify possible red flags: 

  1. Has the senior revealed a loss of appetite, trouble with digesting food, or chewing or swallowing challenges? Has there been a decline in food consumption over the past several months as a result? 
  2. Has the older adult experienced a loss of weight over the past several months? Losing weight, particularly for those with a more sedentary way of life, can indicate that the person is not eating properly. 
  3. Does the senior have a problem with mobility? Being confined to the home can create nutritional challenges, as it is more problematic to get groceries or fix meals. 
  4. Has the older person been under psychological stress or experienced an acute disease in the past couple of months? 
  5. What is the older person’s body mass index (BMI)? A BMI of 18.5 or lower can suggest that the person is not eating enough, while a BMI of 30 or higher can signify obesity.  

If you determine through answering these questions that an older loved one might be experiencing problems with nutrition, it’s a good idea to consult with his or her doctor. San Diego Home Caregivers can also help improve health and wellbeing for older adults through services like: 

  • Food preparation 
  • Transportation to doctor appointments 
  • Light housekeeping 
  • Running errands 
  • Medication reminders 
  • And more  

Our San Diego Home Caregivers team is compassionate, background screened and available for as much or as little care as desired. You can get in touch with us online or call our care team at (619) 487-9000 to learn more about our home care in Carlsbad and the surrounding areas.

The Important Link Between Symptoms of COPD and Nutrition

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The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute has estimated that as many as 12 million adults are now diagnosed with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), and yet another 12 million may be living with the disease and not even be aware of it. COPD generally hits in middle age, with smoking as the top contributing factor. Ongoing exposure to chemicals and dust also raises a person’s risk factor.

If you or a senior loved one has been diagnosed with COPD, making healthy lifestyle choices can make a significant difference in the severity of symptoms. Not only that, but knowing the links between COPD and nutrition, and following a healthier diet can help those with COPD feel better, gain increased strength needed for breathing, and help fight off chest infections.

Follow the recommendations below from the care team at San Diego Home Caregivers, top providers of home care and dementia care in San Diego, to better manage the symptoms of COPD:

  • Never skip breakfast. For someone with COPD, breathing burns upwards of ten times more calories than for those without COPD, so starting the day with a healthy and balanced breakfast can provide the calories and nutrients needed for the day.
  • Consume more potassium. COPD patients who take diuretics will need extra potassium. Good choices include oranges, bananas, potatoes, and tomatoes.
  • Drink plenty of non-caffeinated liquids. Fluids help to thin mucus in the air passageways. But caffeine can conflict with some medications and lead to restlessness, so stick with non-caffeinated fluids.
  • Avoid gas-inducing foods. Foods like beans, fried foods, and carbonated beverages that produce gas and bloating may make it more difficult for someone with COPD to breathe. Try to avoid these types of foods to prevent symptom flare-ups.
  • Reduce sodium intake. Sodium can lead to water retention, making it more difficult to breathe, so it’s best to stay away from foods that contain more than 300 milligrams of sodium per serving. Sodium-free spices like parsley, garlic, oregano, basil, curry, onion, rosemary and lemon juice are all wonderful alternatives.

San Diego Home Caregivers, providers of the best home care San Diego has to offer, is highly skilled in working with COPD patients and their families to help manage COPD symptoms and ensure the home is safe and free from irritants. Contact us today at (619) 487-9000 to learn more ways we can help seniors with COPD and nutrition.  San Diego Home Caregivers is there to help you on your journey on how to care for aging parents.