Ageing should mean enjoying food more not less

As you get older, lifestyles and appetites change which affects the types and amounts of food we eat. A decreasing appetite or reduced ability to buy and prepare healthy foods can mean that many older people don’t get enough essential vitamins, minerals and fibre, and this can contribute to general unwellness or exacerbate some chronic illness.

Food and nutrition can have a significant impact to quality of life by meeting the physical, functional and experiential needs of clients.

Every meal should be seen as an opportunity to maximise nutrition! Be adventurous, think variety, think colour and find ways to pack as many nutrients from the core food groups to help improve wellness through diet.


Calcium for bone health

Osteoporosis is characterised by a decrease in bone density which increases the risk of fractures. Fractures of the hip, leg and wrist are common amongst the elderly. Once calcium is lost from the bones it is difficult to replace, but there are ways to protect against the progression of the disease, including getting enough calcium, fluoride and vitamin D, as well as exercise. Milk and milk products such as yoghurt and cheese are high in calcium, and fish with soft, edible bones, such as canned salmon or sardines, are also good sources of calcium.

Increase water intake

Water provides many vital functions in the body, including hydration, and digestion, however as we age we might not feel as thirsty as often, even when the body really needs fluid.

Use less salt

And flavour foods with fresh or dried herbs and spices
Too much salt can increase the risk of high blood pressure and heart disease.

Limit high fat food

This includes pies, pastries, fried and battered foods and cakes or other sweets. These foods should be eaten very occasionally. Instead, try replacing these with whole foods like fresh fruit and vegetables, wholegrains and lean meats or dairy foods.

 

For more information about how Nutrition Australia (Vic) can assist your aged care facility contact 03 8341 5800 or email vic@nutritionaustralia.org or visit our aged care webpage.

Factsheets:

Physical Activity and Ageing

Nutrition for Older Adults

 

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