November 30, 2018

Nutrition Tips for Older Adults

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This is a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.
Nutrition Tips for Older Adults including increased calcium needs, staying hydrated, needing more protein and more!
For those of you who are newer to the blog, did you know that I have spent most of the last 8 years working in long-term care focusing on nutrition for the elderly? I love this type of work and am passionate about helping older adults in rehab facilities and long-term care facilities to have the best nutrition possible. For the last 20 months, I have been doing my blog full-time and taking care of my two kiddos but most likely, I will go back to working with the elderly at some point in my life.

My love for working with the elderly started at a super young age. I was 15 years old when my Dzia-Dzia (grandpa in Polish) needed care. That summer, mostly my brother and I took turns living with my grandparents and taking care of my grandpa. He needed a helping hand walking, he needed someone to help with meals, he needed help taking his medicine, etc. This is an emotional yet rewarding part of my life that I will never forget and truly shaped me as a person.

I always loved the health field and knew that I loved nutrition from a young age on. I loved seeing how eating right can truly help your health and knew that I wanted to spend my career helping others. My Dzia-Dzia passed away a couple weeks after my siblings and I went back to school. It was a tough time as this was the first death of a close family member that we experienced and we were super close with him, especially after caring for him regularly and spending much of our time helping him.

Our tradition was to make fruit salad together every Easter! See, my love of nutrition started early!
That is why I am passionate about caring for the elderly and why I love working with them! This was a hard time in my life to see a loved one ill but I wouldn't change it for the world. Today, I want to share some nutrition tips for older adults.

Be sure to check out Sam's Club Caregiver program which makes shopping for your loved one more convenient. For shopping in store, they have two great options. Club Pick-up, where you have the ease of putting your order in online and Sam's Club will fill your cart with your items. Then you have the ease of bypassing the register and pick up at the kiosk inside. Or at select clubs, you can pick up at the drive-thru area. They even have an "Easy Reorder" option! Or they have a "Scan and Go" option. While shopping you scan each item with their app on your phone, next you make your payment right in the app! You just show your digital receipt to the exit greeter. No long lines! Such a time saver.

Head over to the website to read more about these benefits along with info on online ordering with free and discreet shipping.

Nutrition Tips for Older Adults

1. Focus on protein

In my experience, one of the number one focuses in older adults is protein. Often times, older adults have muscle wasting and/or have increased protein needs related to different diseases they may have, unplanned weight loss or recovery from a surgery or other injuries. I recommend eating some form of protein with each meal such as chicken, eggs, cheese, milk, beans, peanut butter, meat, etc. 

Often times, older adults can benefit from having a protein drink for extra calories and nutrients. I often recommended Ensure or Glucerna for diabetics for this. They come in different flavors and you can even blend them into a smoothie, make ice cream with them, add to oatmeal, etc. 

Depending on your nutrient needs and reasons for needing a protein drink, I would recommend 1-2 per day. They can also be added in-between meals, and are a great way to put additional protein and nutrients to your diet. This can be a really good option for those who don’t feel like eating a lot or have a poor appetite. Just a few sips here and there can provide some extra nutrition that they were not otherwise getting.

If you are a caretaker, keep in mind that you can find large packs of Ensure and Glucerna at Sam's Club for an affordable price. They also have Depend and Poise products if your loved one needs those. The pharmacist at Sam's Club should also be able to give you some guidance on what products to buy. 

My Sam's Club had them on an end cap and had tons in stock in a few different flavors. You can also order more options online. I actually did the in-store pickup option where I ordered a few items online and picked it up in-store which saved a lot of time! I would definitely do this again.

2. Stay hydrated

Dehydration can be detrimental to an older adult. It is important to sip liquids through the day to prevent dehydration. I remember my grandma's doctor told her that she needed to drink more water so she literally carried a measuring cup around her house with a straw in it to measure how much water she was drinking. So cute! 

I recommend aiming for eight 8-ounce glasses of liquid per day. This can include coffee, tea, water, juice, soup, fruit, vegetables, etc. Especially on a hot day, make sure you're getting plenty to drink.

Roasted Vegetable Fettuccine Alfredo is loaded with a garlicky, cheesy creamy sauce with whole-wheat noodles, roasted butternut squash, Brussels sprouts, carrots, onions and asparagus!
This whole grain pasta with roasted veggies is loaded with fiber!

3. Amp up the fiber

Constipation is very common in the elderly for many reasons including reduced movement, not enough liquids being taken in, medications and reduced fiber intake. Fiber can be found in fruit, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts and more. Eating enough fiber helps you to stay regular and can also help to reduce your risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. I recommend eating fruits and vegetables throughout the day, choosing whole grains instead of refined grains, and adding beans to your diet.

Build Your Own Yogurt Bowl Bar has tons of toppings for yogurt including fruit, honey, nuts, seeds, cereal, granola and more for a fun breakfast that the whole family will love and that is great for entertaining!
Yogurt is rich in calcium and vitamin D!

4. Calcium for bone health

Older adults need additional calcium and vitamin D for their bone health compared to younger adults. The recommendation is 1200 mg/day. I recommend 3 servings of calcium rich foods per day, especially foods like yogurt, cottage cheese, milk and cheese. Other foods with calcium include fortified cereal, fortified orange juice and green leafy vegetables. Talk to your doctor about also taking a calcium supplement.

Grilled Salmon Chopped Greek Salad
Grilled Salmon Chopped Greek Salad has heart healthy fats!

5. Limit saturated fats

Many foods are high in saturated fat such as meat and high-fat dairy. Reducing your intake of saturated fat can be beneficial for reducing your risk of heart disease. Focus on polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats found in foods like nuts, seeds, olive oil, fish and avocado.

I hope you enjoyed these nutrition tips for older adults and learned a few new things!

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Sam’s Club.

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