Nutrition and the Older Person

According to the American Dietetic Association, adequate nutrition can prevent chronic and debilitating disease in older adults.


Many seniors do not eat as well as they should.  Sometimes this is due to physical limitations or financial issues.  Some medications may reduce appetite or medical conditions like arthritis may make it difficult to prepare meals.  Lack of transportation makes shopping more difficult for seniors.  Poor memory and dementia related conditions can impact the ability to eat on a regular schedule and remember what foods to buy.  A person may skip a meal because they do not remember whether or not they have already eaten.  Loneliness and depression can also decrease a person’s appetitie.


Here are some tips to be sure you receive proper nutrition:


  • Avoid eating alone – make a date to have lunch or dinner with family, friends or neighbors to help you enjoy meals
  • Join a senior center or other adult program to make new friends and have meals there
  • If you are experiencing a loss of appetitie, ask your doctor if it could be related to a medication you are taking.
  • If you are having difficulty chewing, check with your dentist but in the meantime, eating steamed vegetables and softer foods like fruit, yogurt, eggs etc can provide the necessary nutrition
  • If a dry mouth makes it difficult to swallow, take a drink of water after each bite of food. 
  • If you can’t shop or cook for yourself, take advantage of home delivery services such as Fresh Direct or netgrocer.com Ask a friend or family member if they would be willing to shop for you.
  • Keep extra non-perishable food on hand in case of an weather or health emergency that would prevent an older person from being able to get to the market.
  • Do not use supplements as a substitute for healthy foods  without discussing it with their physician. Since older people metabolize certain medications and vitamins differently, a supplement may be toxic to them and have an interaction with other medications they may be taking.
  • Make sure you are eating a variety of foods and healthy snacks!  You will feel better inside and out.


This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Bob Rohr August 01, 2012 at 02:02 AM
This is really great stuff. Please share more.
Susan Yubas August 01, 2012 at 09:13 AM
Thank you - I am so glad that you find this information helpful and of interest. Please let me know what topics you would like to hear more about.
Bob Rohr August 01, 2012 at 12:50 PM
Susan, anything that you come across regularly in your work. We have an aging population and we need to change some of our old habits. Something positive here would be very welcome.


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