December 13, 2010
The Home Instead Senior Care® network is arming seniors and family caregivers with nutrition resources for healthy aging.
Healthy aging is a goal we all share and, for seniors, a well-balanced diet can be even more important. Good nutrition is the first line of defense for older adults who are striving to maintain their independence as they age, helping to protect them from illness and disease.
Achieving a well-balanced diet is not as easy as it sounds, though. The physical limitations of aging often make shopping, cooking and dining a challenge for many seniors who want to stay healthy.
Mobility problems aggravated by conditions such as arthritis can keep seniors away from the grocery store where they would find healthy options for their daily menus. Medications and certain illnesses often cause older adults to lose their appetites. And the death of spouses and friends may isolate seniors, leaving them with little interest in the pleasures of dining at home or eating out at restaurants.
Inability to shop and cook can be major challenges to eating healthy, especially among recently hospital-discharged older adults, said Dr. Nadine Sahyoun, associate professor of Nutrition and Food Science in the University of Maryland College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, who has extensively studied the impact of issues such as dental health, social support and depression on seniors' diets. Physical functioning is very important to the quality of food that is in the home and to the meals that are prepared, she added.
Awareness begins with identifying the warnings signs that seniors are not eating properly. These are the first alerts to warn family caregivers of the potential hazards that their senior loved may be facing if they are not eating properly.
Family caregivers have their own challenges. Their busy schedules helping Mom and Dad with shopping and meal preparation often turn their lives into a pressure cooker of stress. According to Home Instead Senior Care research: An estimated 83 percent of family caregivers help with groceries or other errands; 65 percent assist with meal preparation.
Cooking Under Pressure® Program
The importance of nutrition to healthy aging is why Home Instead Senior Care has launched the Cooking Under Pressure nutrition campaign. This program provides education and support to seniors and their family members who are sometimes stressed-out by the demands of caregiving.
Partnering with nutrition experts at the University of Maryland and Duke Diet and Fitness Center (part of Duke University Medical Center), the company has developed a handbook of nutrition tips as well as healthy and interesting recipes that can spice it up for most any senior. The program will assist family caregivers who want to get organized by providing shopping tips and 12 food staples that older adults shouldn't live without.
What's more, Cooking Under Pressure will help seniors and their family caregivers tune into the dangers of malnourishment, one of an older adult's most deadly enemies. Now is a great time to wage the war on aging. It all begins with great food and the support seniors need to make mealtimes a pleasant and healthy experience.
Explore these pages to learn more:
Need help ensuring your senior is eating well? Visit our Resources page.
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