Food is fuel. Without proper nutrition, neither our bodies nor our minds can function properly. Many senior citizens experience a diminished sense of taste and smell that can affect their appetites. Additionally, due to metabolic changes, seniors can consume fewer calories than younger adults and still remain healthy. These statements about senior nutrition are true. Unfortunately, there are many common misconceptions about senior nutrition that, when taken as fact, can harm seniors. Here are five myths regarding food and seniors living in OKC and elsewhere.
There’s a big difference between nutrients and calories. It’s true seniors can safely consume fewer calories than younger adults. However, they absolutely need to consume as many or more nutrients than younger adults. With age, the ability to absorb nutrients declines. Seniors need to take in more nutrients, especially calcium and vitamins B12 and D, because a larger percentage of nutrients are flushed from the body. Consuming more gives the body more time to absorb more.
Skipping meals is never healthy. Not only will seniors miss out on essential nutrients, but they’ll also experience a negative impact on blood sugar levels. They may be unusually hungry by their next meal time and overindulge, which can cause them to become ill. Additionally, many seniors take multiple medications that are better tolerated when they eat regularly.
Most seniors are beyond caring about how they’ll look in a bathing suit. That doesn’t mean it’s safe for them to eat as much fat, sugar and salt as they want. Even seniors at a healthy weight need to refrain from junk food and reach for nutrient-dense foods. Heart disease and diabetes are more common in older adults than in younger adults. A poor diet increases a senior’s risk of developing these serious diseases.
You may be surprised to learn malnutrition is a big problem amongst seniors, especially those who are lower income and/or live alone. One major benefit of moving your elderly loved one into Oklahoma assisted living is that he or she won’t have to shop, pay for or prepare for their meals. They’ll have easy access to nutritional options and great company with whom to enjoy their meal times. If you assume you can’t afford assisted living in Oklahoma City, you may be pleasantly surprised by the high-quality, affordable options available.
That may be the case in some senior living centers but certainly not all. Many senior living facilities employ trained chefs to create delicious menus and deliver restaurant-quality food. If you are considering moving your loved one into an assisted living facility, you both should have at least a couple of meals in the dining room to make sure the food is up to your standards.
Ensuring the mental and physical well-being of our residents is our top priority at Village at Oakwood. We understand how important senior nutrition is, and we strive to make each meal we serve nutritious and delicious. If you would like to join us for lunch or dinner, contact us!