Eating well as you age
Throughout our lives, a nutritional diet is important for our health and general well being. As we age the necessity for good food is more and more critical for bone and muscle retention, digestion and of course a functioning brain.
For a number reasons, the elderly can laps into poor diets or infrequent fresh, nutritional meals. One of the biggest obstacles faced by the elderly and their carers, is preparing suitable aged care meals.
Consequences of age and appetite
So as we age, our bodily functions change. Some of these changes are natural and others may be the side affects of medications and even environment.
Medicines and medical procedures can have a profound affect on the patients ability to eat and indeed their motivation to do so. But it is during times of illness that nutritional meals are often important to aid recovery and build immunity.
Besides illness though, the body is going through many changes. Senses, muscles, organs and mental state may become affected by the onset of age.
With age come eating disorders, such as dysphagia, chewing difficulties and loss of appetite.
As we age, our brains start to process signals from the body differently. This may result in a loss of senses, telling us when we are hungry or full. Many elderly patients are not conscious of hunger and will refuse food, even when they desperately need it.
Your senses also extend to taste and smell. As we age, our nose and our taste buds might not be quite as sensitive as they were. Naturally, this will dampen the enjoyment of a tasty meal, not to mention those delicious smells from the kitchen. The lack of these basic senses, combined with bodily changes, reduces our ability to produce saliva and the desire to eat. As such, good smells and defined flavours make a big difference in the patients eagerness to eat.
Any of these issues can lead to seniors becoming malnourished and reluctant to eat at all. After all, if you are not hungry or eating becomes a challenge, you lose the joy of a good meal. Snacking or unhealthy offerings may then become the go to food source.
Finally, bowel issues and discomfort using the toilet may cause anxiousness for the patient when making meal choices. Discomfort in the bowels as well as legs, hips and arm muscles are common as we age and really can take their toll on us mentally and physically.
Tell Tale Signs of Malnutrition
So it is extremely important for Carers to be conscious of these difficulties and act. Carers should identify a patient, disinterested in eating or having issues at the dinner table. Even where the patient expresses a preference for smaller helpings, it is paramount that meals come packed with nutrition and flavour.
Alongside the lack of interest in eating, the patient may experience weakness and loss of energy. Spending more time asleep or feeling tiered may signal this. Seniors could become distant and have difficulties focusing. Injuries and sores heal much slower, possibly becoming infected. All indicators that they may be malnourished.
Providing nutritious meals without barriers
To meet the individual needs of the patient, carers will often prepare such meals with fresh vegetables, meat and fruit. But the need for pureed meals for adults can be time consuming and difficult.
One great solution for Carers and loved ones, is Ezy Foods Texture Modified Food deliveries. These ready to eat meals are nutritious, easy to eat and very tasty. The convenience of a home care meal package, delivered to the door is one thing. But it’s qualification under the government NDIS Meals scheme is even better.
To find out more how Ezy Foods Australia can help carers and loved provide delicious texture modified meals to the door, call us now or send us a message. Our experts can discuss your individual needs and assist you the NDIS meal process.
Most of all, providing your patients or loved ones with good, healthy meal options, promotes wellbeing and positivity as well as health. All critical factors in ageing well.