5 Essential Nutrients Seniors Need

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As people get older, nutritious food helps them prevent disease and keep their bodies functioning properly.

There are a variety of age-related health conditions that can make it more challenging for seniors to live independently. However, many of the challenges they face can be easier to manage if their families opt for professional home care. In Mississauga, families can rely on expertly trained caregivers to keep their loved ones safe and comfortable while aging in place. Professional caregivers at Home Care Assistance discuss 5 nutrients seniors may want to add to their diets.

1. Calcium

Several studies have concluded that seniors take in less calcium than they did when they were younger. When the body does not get enough calcium, it extracts this nutrient from the bones, which causes them to become brittle and lose strength. This can lead to weakness, broken bones, and immobility. Foods high in calcium include milk, kale, broccoli, cheese, yogurt, and sardines. 

2. Folic Acid 

Although folic acid is important for pregnant women because it prevents birth defects, it can be just as important for seniors. Technically a B vitamin, folic acid can help prevent anemia and may reduce the amount of homocysteine in the blood, which can prevent cardiovascular health problems and diseases. To add more folic acid into their diets, seniors can eat beans, lentils, citrus fruits, dark green vegetables, and avocados. Also, they should consider switching to a breakfast cereal that has added folate. 

3. Vitamin D

If your loved one wants to keep diseases such as multiple sclerosis, cancer, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis at bay, he or she needs to increase vitamin D intake. Vitamin D is a must for maintaining strong, healthy bones, and it also helps the body absorb calcium. Cheese, eggs, beef liver, and fatty fish like tuna and salmon are all great ways to get vitamin D into the body. The body also absorbs the vitamin from the sun, so seniors should spend some time outside on sunny days. 

Managing caregiving duties while addressing your loved one’s nutritional needs can be overwhelming at times. If you are the primary family caregiver for a senior loved one living in Mississauga, 24-hour care is available if your loved one’s health has become too difficult to manage without professional expertise. At Home Care Assistance, we take measures to help seniors prevent illness and injury by assisting with exercise and mobility, preparing nutritious meals, helping with bathing and other personal hygiene tasks, and much more.

4. Fiber

To maintain a healthy digestive system and stave off heart disease, getting enough fiber in the diet is a must. However, most people only get about half the fiber they need. Seniors can increase their intake by adding plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables to their diets. Fiber-rich foods include broccoli, artichokes, raspberries, blackberries, pears, avocados, peas, beans, lentils, oatmeal, barley, and whole wheat. Encourage your loved one to drink plenty of water when increasing the fiber in his or her diet to make it work more efficiently. 

5. Potassium

Another way to keep bones strong is to eat more potassium-rich meals. Potassium also helps lower blood pressure and may reduce the risk of developing kidney stones. Like fiber, most seniors do not get enough potassium in their diets. If your loved one is not getting adequate potassium, add fresh fruits and vegetables to his or her meals such as potatoes, bananas, spinach, sweet potatoes, acorn squash, and mushrooms. Be careful about how you prepare these meals, because boiling fruits and veggies can remove some of their nutrients.

Seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and other cognitive health conditions may require special diets to boost their mental health and retain their sense of independence. Aging in place can present a few challenges for seniors living with dementia. However, they can still live independently at home with the help of professional in-home dementia care. Mississauga, ON, families can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide their elderly loved ones with mental and social stimulation, timely medication reminders, assistance with meal prep, and much more. Our caregivers are available around the clock to help your loved one live a happier and healthier life. Call us today at (905) 337-1200 to learn about our senior care plans or to hire a dedicated caregiver for your aging loved one.