As people age, their nutritional needs can change as a result of preexisting medical conditions, side effects from prescription medications, decreased senses of taste and smell, and even cognitive mental changes. Because their needs may change, aging adults may be unable to keep up with their recommended daily allowances for vitamins and minerals, and subsequently, may be at risk for developing deficiencies. To help ensure that your elderly loved one is consuming meals that meet their nutritional needs, consider some of the following benefits that a senior living community can provide.
The staff at a senior living or retirement community can provide therapeutic diets to those who reside there. For example, if your loved one has certain medical conditions such as diabetes, congestive heart failure, kidney disease, or high blood pressure, the dietary staff at the facility can provide nutrient-dense meals to help manage their illnesses. For example, if the senior living resident has diabetes, the dietary staff can prepare diabetic-friendly meals and snacks with the right amounts of complex carbohydrates, lean protein, and fiber that can help maintain steady blood sugar levels.
In accordance with the proper medication, therapeutic dietary interventions can greatly reduce the risk of hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia in diabetic patients. Therapeutic diets can also help lower the risk of a hypertensive crisis in the resident with high blood pressure, reduce the risk of fluid overload in the congestive heart failure resident, and even help the obese resident lose weight. Senior living dietary staff are specially trained in the planning and preparation of therapeutic diets recommended by physicians.
Weight Management Interventions
Aging adults may also have special nutritional needs as a result of significant weight loss or because of morbid obesity. The retirement community staff can help the resident gain healthy amounts of weight or lose healthy amounts of weight by preparing meals in accordance with the person's primary physician's orders.
If the senior resident is underweight and weak, the dietary staff can prepare nutrient-dense meals that contain protein for energy, increased calories, and vitamin C to help enhance immunity. Conversely, if the resident is morbidly obese, dietary staff will plan and prepare calorie-restrictive diets that are high in vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids to help aid in steady and healthy weight loss. Special weight management diets can also be coupled with exercise programs to promote strength and optimal health in residents who are struggling with weight and nutrition problems.
If your aging loved one is unable to live independently because they have special nutritional needs, consider the above benefits of a senior living community. Not only will your loved one receive optimal dietary interventions, but they will also be in an environment where they will thrive with their peers and enjoy frequent opportunities for socialization to help prevent social isolation.
Reach out to a senior living facility to learn more.