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Most Essential Nutrients for Aging Adults

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A nutrient-rich diet is especially necessary for older adults because of changes that naturally occur in the aging body. The gastrointestinal system doesn’t absorb nutrients as efficiently. Seniors might have diminished smell and taste, which causes a lack of appetite and a subsequent lack of nutrition, making it even more important to consume foods that are highly nutritious. However, there are some nutrients that need to be at the top of the list of daily requirements.

Calcium

Calcium is necessary to keep bones and teeth healthy. The mineral is also important for the function of the cardiovascular system and muscles. If seniors don’t get enough calcium from their diet, the body takes the mineral from the bones to make up for the deficit. Osteoporosis then develops. Seniors can get the required amount of calcium by eating three servings of low-fat or fat-free dairy products each day in the form of milk, yogurt, or cottage cheese. For seniors who prefer a dairy-free diet, broccoli, kale, and spinach also supply the nutrient.

If your loved one has osteoporosis-related mobility issues, he or she can age in place safely with the help of a caregiver. West Hartford senior care experts are available to provide high-quality care to seniors on an as-needed basis. From assistance with mobility and exercise to providing transportation to the doctor’s office and social events, there are a variety of ways professional caregivers can help your aging loved one continue to live independently.

Vitamin D

The body needs vitamin D to absorb calcium. Exposing the skin to direct sunlight for 15 minutes per day causes the body to automatically manufacture the vitamin. Milk, certain yogurt brands, and some juices are fortified with vitamin D. Eggs, salmon, and tuna are also good sources.

Folate or Folic Acid

A lack of folate leads to anemia. Fresh fruits and raw vegetables are good sources of the nutrient. Certain cereals are also fortified with folate.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 must be present for the body to make healthy red blood cells and DNA, and it’s also necessary for normal nerve function. The nutrient is commonly manufactured in the gastrointestinal tract. However, seniors with digestive disorders may be lacking in B12, so they can take a supplement or consume it by eating eggs, fish, meat, poultry, low-calorie dairy products, and fortified foods.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

These unsaturated fats are needed for cardiovascular health. They also prevent rheumatoid arthritis and macular degeneration. Evidence suggests omega-3 fatty acids boost cognitive health and protect the brain from developing Alzheimer’s. Salmon and tuna are typical rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Older adults should have two servings of oily fish each week. Olive oil, flaxseed, soybeans, and walnuts are also good sources. 

If your loved one is experiencing cognitive decline, he or she may require more than omega-3 fatty acids to slow its progress. Aging in place can present a few unique challenges for older adults. Some only require part-time assistance with exercise or meal preparation, while others are living with serious illnesses and benefit more significantly from receiving live-in care. West Hartford, CT, Home Care Assistance are leaders in the elderly in-home care industry for good reason. We tailor our care plans based on each senior’s individual needs, our caregivers continue to receive updated training in senior care as new developments arise, and we also offer comprehensive care for seniors with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and Parkinson’s.

Fiber

Fiber keeps the cardiovascular and gastrointestinal systems healthy. Dietary fiber may also prevent the development of gastrointestinal cancer. Fresh fruits and vegetables, beans, nuts, and whole grains are ideal sources of fiber.

Magnesium

Magnesium plays a role in hundreds of processes that occur throughout the body. The nutrient is often lost when taking diuretics. Fresh fruits and vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds, and whole grains are sources to include daily.

Potassium

Potassium is important for cardiovascular and muscle function. Seniors taking diuretics often experience a loss of potassium. Good supplemental sources include bananas, citrus fruits, cantaloupes, plums, prunes, and potatoes.

Good nutrition is vital for everyone’s health, but it’s especially important for seniors to get the right amount of essential nutrients to stave off the effects of aging and prevent certain conditions. Nutrition is only one of many areas of focus for seniors who want to stay healthy, and some may need a bit of assistance. In West Hartford, home care providers can benefit aging adults in a variety of ways. From cooking nutritious meals to offering timely medication reminders, the dedicated caregivers at Home Care Assistance are available to help your elderly loved one 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. To learn about our high-quality in-home care services, give us a call at (860) 372.4500 today.