More Americans aged 65+ than ever before now enjoy active, independent lifestyles. In addition to physical exercise, mental stimulation and socialization, an aging adult’s quality of life also relies on the foods they eat. Sadly, millions of aging-in-place seniors don’t get the daily nutrition they need. What follows are several reasons why you’re never too old to enjoy the benefits that a healthy, well-balanced diet provides.
Why Don’t Older Adults Eat Right?
Many seniors live on fixed incomes that make food shopping challenging. For those that live alone, grabbing some fast food or a bag of chips is easier than preparing a healthy meal.
In addition, here are some other reasons why many older adults don’t eat like they should:
- Loneliness and depression
- Chewing or swallowing difficulties
- Side effects from medications
- Diminished sense of taste or smell
- Chronic fatigue
- Cognitive impairment due to dementia or Alzheimer’s
Health Problems Linked to Malnutrition
Studies have shown that nearly half of all elderly Americans are either malnourished or at risk for malnutrition. Once seniors stop getting the nutrition they need, these health problems are possible:
- Eyesight changes
- Trouble managing chronic medical conditions
- Slower wound healing
- More susceptible to illnesses and infections
- Muscle weakness and bone mass loss
Due to malnourishment countless aging-in-place adults end up hospitals or nursing homes every year. Unfortunately, many lose their independence permanently as a result.
How Good Nutrition Benefits Seniors
Good nutrition is important at any age, and especially for those aged 65-and-above. As the body ages nutritional needs also change that affect nearly every tissue and organ. Here’s how eating a nutrient-rich, balanced diet benefits the elderly:
- Brain function. Improves memory and cognitive ability
- Chronic illness management. Helps the body efficiently manage chronic conditions like diabetes, cancer and high blood pressure<