In our last blog post, we outlined some age-related issues that can keep older adults from eating well, but what about when poor eating behaviors contribute to cognitive impairment? Malnourishment in older individuals is more common than you may think. As stated by the National Resource on Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Aging, as many as 35% to 50% of the older residents of long-term care facilities are experiencing malnutrition, and as many as 65% of older adults in hospitals may be malnourished.
Malnourished seniors are twice as likely to visit the physician and 3 times as likely to be admitted to the hospital. They also end up with diminished muscle strength and poor healing. On top of that, recent research points to the role of senior nutrition in cognitive difficulties as well. Healthy Aging and Longevity research has shown a shocking link between dietary patterns practiced during adulthood and age-related cognitive decline and dementia risk.
To lessen the risk of dementia, it’s suggested that elderly adults stick to a diet high in fruits, vegetables, cereals and fish, and low in saturated fats.
It’s also important to know that people with diabetes are especially sensitive to the foods they eat. For instance, a senior diabetic will be affected by a memory function decline just after a meal, particularly if that meal is comprised of simple carbohydrates, such as sugar, soft drinks, candy, etc. Although the exact physiologic mechanisms resulting in these dietary effects are not completely known, the modulation of brain insulin is a very likely causing factor.
Making smart choices about your diet today can help reduce the risk for cognitive decline in later years. Take the proactive steps below to help enhance your loved one’s nutrition now:
- Make nutritious food choices at each meal, such as replacing simple carbs with complex ones (leafy green vegetables, whole grains, beans, etc.)
- Seek help from a dietitian or a professional home care agency like Live Well at Home’s home care services in Roseville, CA
- Get plenty of exercise on a daily basis
For older individuals, grabbing a quick snack is often simpler than fixing a well-balanced meal. Live Well at Home in Roseville can help ensure that your loved one always has healthy food readily available in the home. With the help of our transportation services, we can assist seniors with shopping for groceries (or pick them up for the senior), and planning and preparing appetizing and nourishing meals at home. Contact us to learn more about our customized senior care Roseville services and our home care services in the surrounding areas!