Senior Nutrition is an Often Overlooked (But Essential) Part of Overall Health

March is National Nutrition Month and while it may be a good time for some of us to second guess the junk food we’re putting in our bodies, it’s the perfect time to address senior nutrition–a major health concern for aging individuals. Seniors have an exceptionally hard time getting the nutrients they need from the food they eat. In fact, malnutrition in seniors runs rampant in The United States. One 2014 study published in The Annals of Emergency Medicine found that more than half of seniors in America are malnourished and many more are on the brink.

Think about the seniors you know. Do they rely on “old stand-bys” instead of cooking well-rounded meals? Do they leave food on their plate or skip meals altogether? Is their diet primarily processed foods?

It may surprise you but seniors need about the same amount of calories per day as a middle aged American. Anything less and they could be putting themselves at risk.

The Health Risks of Poor Senior Nutrition

Poor nutrition in seniors contributes to a number of significant health issues including:

  1. Increased Risk of Infection

  2. Weakened Ability to Heal

  3. Breathing Problems

  4. Muscle Weakness

  5. Depression

Why Are Our Seniors Malnourished?

Unfortunately, there’s no one-sized-fits-all solution for malnutrition in the aging population. There are far too many underlying reasons for an individual’s poor diet. These may include:

  1. Disinterest in food

  2. Loss of taste and smell

  3. Dental /oral health

  4. Prescription medications

  5. Gastrointestinal changes (intolerance to certain foods)

  6. Dementia or memory issues

Treating these underlying conditions is one of the easiest ways to prevent or reverse poor senior nutrition but it’s important to treat every senior individually.

What You Can Do To Help Seniors Improve Their Nutrition