In our last blog post, we featured some age-related issues that often prevent seniors from eating a balanced diet, but can poor eating behaviors lead to cognitive deterioration? Malnourishment in older people is more common than you might realize. The National Resource on Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Aging notes that 35% – 50% of the seniors living in long-term care facilities are experiencing malnutrition, and as many as 65% of older adults in hospitals may be malnourished as well.
Malnourished seniors are twice as likely to have to see their doctors and three times as likely to be hospitalized. They also suffer from reduced muscle strength and have a harder time healing than those with better diets. In addition to that, new research highlights the role that healthy eating plays in preventing cognitive difficulty as well. Healthy Aging and Longevity data shows a surprising connection between eating habits practiced during adulthood and age-related cognitive decline and dementia risk.
To lessen the risk of dementia, it is recommended that older adults follow a diet rich in fish, cereals, vegetables, and fruits, and low in saturated fats.
It is crucial to recognize that people with diabetes are especially sensitive to the foods they eat. Specifically, an older person with diabetes will be impacted by a decline in memory function after a meal, particularly if that meal includes carbohydrate-rich foods like candy, soda, sugar, etc. Although the precise physiological mechanisms causing these issues are not entirely clear, the modulation of insulin in the brain is a likely factor.
Making thoughtful choices that contribute to healthy eating for seniors today can help them reduce the risk of cognitive decline later on. Take these proactive steps to help improve the nutrition of a senior loved one:
- Get regular exercise.
- Maintain a healthy weight and BMI.
- Provide healthy food options for every meal. For example, replace simple carbohydrates with complex ones like beans, whole grains, green vegetables, etc.
- Keep blood pressure and cholesterol levels under control.
- Ask for help from a dietitian or a professional home care agency like Advanced Home Health Care.
For older adults, getting a quick snack is often much easier than preparing a full meal. The Burlington, IA senior care experts at Advanced Home Health Care can ensure that seniors always have healthy food in the home. We can also provide transportation assistance to help seniors with grocery shopping, or a caregiver can pick up and deliver groceries for the senior. Reach out to us online or at 319.753.6270 to learn how we help improve healthy eating for seniors you love.
Visit our Service Area page for a full list of the areas in which we provide care.