How Your Nutritional Needs Change As You Age

October 19th, 2017 by John Wilson

Most people have grown up knowing how much of each food group they should eat to maintain a healthy lifestyle. However, did you know these needs change as you get older? Those who are in senior assisted living will have vastly different nutrition requirements than a teenager or even an adult in their 20s or 30s. Senior care services in OKC understand these changing needs, but it can be helpful for you to be aware too so you can contribute to a healthier lifestyle for aging loved ones.

Medication Interactions

One of the biggest concerns for those in senior living communities in Oklahoma City is how their medication may react with the foods they are eating. While most people only think of drug interactions when it comes to medication, certain foods can affect the absorption of specific medications or can otherwise negatively interact. This is why it’s important for seniors to talk to their doctor about their unique dietary needs. Attending these appointments with a senior loved one can help family members better prepare meals that are healthy and meet these needs.

Appetite and drug interactions are common while in senior care services.

Senior care services understand drug interactions and appetite.

A Diminished Appetite

Many seniors find they are no longer as hungry as they once were. Sometimes it’s a medication that diminishes the appetite. Certain medical conditions and general aging issues can also cause the elderly to eat far less than they should. Regardless of the cause, it’s critical for seniors to go out of their way to make sure they are eating enough to sustain their health and wellbeing. This is why seniors in senior assisted living thrive better when they have set mealtimes they can share with the other residents. This reminds them when it’s time to eat and ensures they are offered a well-balanced diet for optimal senior nutrition.

A Slowing Metabolism

Even individuals who enjoyed a fast metabolism in their younger years will notice they put on the pounds more quickly in their senior years. This is because the metabolism naturally slows as you get older. Because of this fact, many seniors reduce their food intake to help them maintain a healthy weight. However, this often means they miss out on important nutrients. Instead, seniors should eat numerous smaller meals throughout the day, allowing their metabolism to keep up with their food intake without missing important vitamins and minerals.

Exercise Is Part of the Food Guidelines

The outdated food pyramid only included the foods you should eat to maintain a healthy lifestyle. However, when this pyramid was updated to the MyPlate guidelines, exercise requirements were added as well. For seniors, doing one type of exercise they enjoy, which can even include walking, for about 30 minutes three to four times a week can make a dramatic improvement in their weight and how they digest the proper nutrients. Spending time outside can also be beneficial in the production of vitamin D.

If you’re concerned about your senior loved one’s eating habits while in senior assisted living, contact us. We can help you determine what they should be eating so they can maintain a healthier lifestyle.

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