Reasons Why Proper Nutrition Becomes More Difficult with Age
As we get older, our nutritional needs change, often for the worse. There are a number of reasons that this happens, which means there are a number of different problems that might be to blame for malnutrition. To help you understand why your nutritional needs (or those of your loved one) change with age, here are some of the most common causes to look for.
Many types of medicine can dramatically change how your body reacts with certain nutrients. In some cases, the effects can be quite dramatic, with certain drugs preventing nutrients from being absorbed properly. As such, it’s critical that you understand how the medicine you take can affect your nutritional needs.
If you are taking a lot of antibiotics, then you should be mindful about how the helpful bacteria in your body is affected. You may need to take additional probiotic supplements to make sure your digestive system remains functional.
If you are taking medication for ulcers, then you should be aware that it often neutralizes the acid in your stomach. While this does help with ulcers, it can also hinder your body’s ability to absorb certain vitamins. You should talk to your doctor to see if you need to take any extra precautions when it comes to dieting and supplements while on anti-ulcer medication.
Appetite can also be affected by some medications, so you need to make sure you are eating enough if you have a lower appetite than usual. However, some types of medication can also increase your appetite dramatically, which can lead to overeating. Following the national health guidelines for your daily intake of various food groups is a good place to start, but you should consult a professional if you feel that your appetite is being adversely affected by your medication.
If you have age-related dental problems, then you might find that your eating habits have changed. Dentures can make it hard to eat certain foods, but so can osteoporosis, oral cancers, and other afflictions of the mouth. This can lead to difficulty eating fibrous foods, which can result in you not including enough of such nutrients in your diet.
To correct for this without dramatically changing your life, you should seek out supplements for the specific vitamins and minerals that you are missing. Getting professional dental work done is another option because it can give you a more comfortable and permanent solution, but it isn’t always economically viable.
Inability to Get to the Store
For many seniors, the problem lies in getting to the store for groceries. If you are unable to drive or carry groceries home, then you will need to find an alternative way to get the ingredients you need to make nutritious and delicious meals. Many assisted living facilities organize regular trips to local stores. If that isn’t a viable option, a number of grocery stores now offer online ordering services that allow you to shop from the comfort of your own home. If you fear that you might forget to order groceries sometimes, then you can also set up recurring orders that will be delivered to you on a regular basis.
Similarly, many elderly individuals find it harder to cook as they get older. Strenuous tasks like cutting become more difficult and even more dangerous, which often leads to some meals being dropped entirely from their diets. Keep your knives sharp to help make the cutting press easier.
In cases where short-term memory is affected by age, it can even become dangerous to operate an oven or gas stove. To accommodate for this, there are a number of different appliances and tools that you can buy for safety purposes.
As far as heat sources are concerned, you may want to consider switching from a gas to electric stove. This greatly reduces the chances of a fire starting accidentally or a gas line being left open.
Finding the Right Solution
Taking proper steps to ensure that you are getting the nutrients you need is critical at all stages of life, but it can become particularly difficult as you get older. Every person is different and requires a unique solution, so what works for your friend or relative may not work for you at all. It’s important to balance a wide variety of factors when figuring out what would work best in a given situation, which often means the input of a professional can be useful.