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Myths About Senior’s Nutrition

By February 17, 2023February 24th, 2023Moments
5 seniors nutrition myths

It is important to monitor your senior’s nutrition to ensure that they are consuming all the necessary nutrients. Good nutrition provides the mental and physical energy needed for daily life – work, recreation, relationships, and time with family. Eating healthily also protects us from infectious illnesses and chronic diseases so we can experience a high quality of life.

While consuming a nutritious diet is important for people of any age, for seniors it’s especially important. It’s estimated that more than 70% of seniors admitted to the hospital for various ailments are experiencing malnutrition.

While in some cases isolation and lack of mobility can account for this malnutrition, there are also a variety of myths about senior’s nutrition.

Debunking Myths About Senior’s Nutrition 

Myth 1: It’s Natural to Lose Your Appetite

Many people take it as just a fact of life that people need to eat less as they age. In fact, while seniors may need slightly fewer calories and food-bulk than younger adults, they need just as many nutrients, if not more. One reason is that as they age, their ability to absorb nutrients decreases. There are reasons why seniors may not feel inclined to eat, but our body still needs food.

Myth 2: Being a Little Overweight is Actually a Good Sign

Because metabolism changes with age, many seniors lose weight. We take it for granted that older people just don’t like eating so, any weight gain is regarded as being “healthy.” The overweight, or obese, are said to experience lifespans 10 years less than average according to a study by Oxford University. In fact, risks of being overweight include type-2 diabetes, heart disease and even Alzheimer’s disease. As well, being overweight can limit mobility, and lead to falls. So, it’s important to keep an eye on your seniors weight.

Myth 3: You Can Just Let Yourself Go

Seniors and their families who are attempting to follow healthy eating habits are often confronted by the notion that it’s better to be permissive about what seniors can eat, because “they’re old”. This means eating what they like with little regard for the consequences. Poor nutrition can affect their mood, their energy levels during the day, and even their mobility. These can decreasetheir overall quality of life. This doesn’t need to happen if they maintain a healthy balanced diet.

Myth 4: Seniors Who Aren’t Overweight Can Eat Whatever They Want

People who are a “healthy weight” can still develop heart disease from eating too many high-fat foods, and they can still develop diabetes from an improper sugar-heavy diet. This issue is especially relevant to seniors because difficulty cooking can cause seniors to adopt a diet where the main staple is a pre-packaged meal, for example.

Myth 5: Food Is Just For Nutrition

Food is more than just fuel for the body. Instead, food is a social act. Eating with others increases our appetite and how much we consume at each meal. For seniors, the danger is that eating almost every meal in isolation can also exacerbate loneliness, stress, and anxiety. Physical and cognitive problems often cause seniors to become unable to prepare adequately nutritious or filling meals. In other words, constantly eating alone can put seniors at risk. The solution of course is for seniors to, at least some of the time, eat with others.


How To Improve Senior’s Nutrition

Sometimes it can be difficult to figure out just how to eat healthily as a senior. Here are some tips to ensure they’re receiving the nutrition they need to maintain their quality of life and independence.

1) Increase fruits and vegetables intake

Fresh fruits and vegetables are wonderful sources of the fiber, vitamins, and enzymes our bodies need to remain healthy. For those with dental issues, steaming vegetables so that they are softer to eat while still retaining their nutrition is easy to do. For those who have no trouble chewing, cut up raw vegetables with a tasty dip as a snack or a small meal.

2) Make lunch the big meal of the day

Often by dinner, seniors are too tired to finish meals. Also, some seniors can have more digestive problems that interfere with a good night’s sleep. We all actually need more calories earlier in the day.

3) Stay hydrated

Remember to maintain fluid levels. It is important for all bodily processes to sip some liquids throughout the day. The more fruits and vegetables in their diets, the more naturally hydrated they are.

4) Eat small meals more often

Believe it or not, it’s actually better for most seniors to eat 5-6 small meals a day. The benefits can include:

  • Reducing the highs and lows of insulin levels;
  • Helping seniors who find it painful to eat large meals because of chest congestion or breathing problems;
  • Encouraging more calorie intake for those who have lost their appetites; and
  • Offering more opportunities to socialize and be with others.

5) Don’t skip meals

Skipping a meal usually makes a person eat more at the following meal and can drop blood sugars causing dizziness. If not hungry, it is better to eat a little than to skip. These are just the basics of eating right for seniors.


Classic LifeCare can support senior’s nutrition by helping with meal preparation. Contact us to learn more.