We all remember our parents telling us to eat our vegetables, no matter how much we wanted to leave them on the plate. Eating a balanced diet provides your body with the nutrition it needs. This is essential for maintaining strength, your immune system, and having energy throughout the day. However, not all seniors may be getting the nutrition they need each day.
“When we eat the foods that fuel our bodies properly, we feel good and ready to tackle the day ahead,” says Donna Mulligan, Community Outreach Director of YourLife™ of Palm Beach Gardens. “Having this aspect of your health covered can allow one to focus on other things like social and spiritual wellness. Without the right nutrition, it can affect one’s ability to take part in these other areas of health. We’re here to make sure our residents get the nutrition they need.”
In this blog, we’ll go over why nutrition is vital for seniors and how it can benefit them in numerous ways.
The Importance of Nutrition for Seniors
Seniors need to have a healthy diet so their bodies can function to the best of their abilities. Foods like fruits, vegetables, lean meats, nuts, and sources of vitamin D allow seniors to have the energy to stay active. Maintaining strength is vital for mobility and can help promote independence because they’re more likely to be able to do things on their own. Regular exercise also helps stimulate hunger, so the individual is ready to eat.
According to MedlinePlus, nutrition can also help prevent diseases that have major effects on a senior’s health and lifestyle:
- Heart Disease
- Type 2 Diabetes
- High Blood Pressure
However, as our loved ones age, they may face other factors that prevent them from eating healthy meals on a regular basis. Some may have difficulties with their senses, which is a symptom of Alzheimer’s. When senses like touch, smell, or taste are affected, the individual may lose interest in the idea of eating or not realize they aren’t eating enough.
Others may lose the ability to cook for themselves. When a senior can no longer keep up with cooking and feeding themselves, they may go without meals or subsist on foods that aren’t providing them with the nutrition they need.
This is where caregivers or other forms of professional care come in. It’s important to know what your loved one needs each day, if they have any issues with chewing and swallowing, and to take what kind of foods they like into account. Dieticians and other specialists can work with you and your loved one to help them get the nutrition they need and you can find ways to help your loved one enjoy mealtimes.
How Does Nutrition Enhance Mental Health?
Nutrition does more than improve physical wellbeing. It’s also intricately connected to mental health. Diet can impact one’s mood, which means that if your loved one has a condition like depression, anxiety or a type of mood disorder, then a poor diet will increase symptom experience. Struggles with a mental health issue, like depression, often decreases appetite, which impacts nutrition, creating a vicious cycle. If your loved one is not getting the nutrition they need to have physical strength, their mental health will also continue to decline.
See What YourLife™ of Palm Beach Gardens Has to Offer
We provide our residents with plenty of healthy options so they can maintain their health and make the most out of each day. YourLife™ of Palm Beach Gardens has Independent and Assisted Living amenities as well as Memory Care amenities. Our residents enjoy chef-prepared meals each day, to ensure they’re getting the nutrition they need and they flavors they love. Want to know more about our community and how we approach nutrition and health? Talk to us here.