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Looking after our nutrition in older age

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It’s always important to take good care of our nutritional health, ensuring we get the right energy and vitamins into our bodies. As we enter old age, our bodies are likely to require a little extra care and attention to keep fit and healthy. Good nutrition and regular hydration play a big part in that respect.

The pandemic has affected so many of us is lots of different ways, but an unexpected consequence of lockdowns and isolation is that many of have experienced changes in our appetites. This could be down to changes in our overall mood but it could have also been brought on by limited access to food and stretching provisions to make them last longer.

Age UK has recently found that around 10% of all over 60s in England have been eating less during the pandemic. This means that 1.4 million people could be at risk of malnourishment, while a further 3.7 million have revealed that they have been unable to access healthy food regularly over the last twelve months.

Regardless of a person’s circumstances, we know how greatly beneficial it can be to maintain a healthy diet. Not only does it help the body to stay active and keep healthcare problems at bay, it also aids in enhancing our mood – especially when times may feel a bit tough.

Factors that can cause malnutrition

As we get older, it’s easy to let our eating habits go a bit. Our metabolism will likely be slower than it used to be and sometimes people even lose interest in daily activities like cooking. A person’s senses of taste and smell can even get duller as time goes on, so food doesn’t seem to be as appetising any more.

Another common reason for eating less could simply be that a person is living alone. This makes things like shopping and preparing meals a bit harder when there’s nobody around to help – especially in old age. The pandemic has shone a light on this factor more than ever, with so many people of all ages forced to spend most of their time alone with limited access to shops.

This is where it’s useful for family members, friends and neighbours to check in on older residents. Over the last year, countless people have shown their generosity by offering to go shopping for others and deliver to their door, or to provide care packages to keep them going. Here at SureCare, we’ve also extended our range of services to include shopping and running additional errands, which ensures people always get the supplies they need.

Maintaining a nutritious diet

The key to a good diet is balance. Fruits and vegetables play just as important a role as meats, dairy products and even fats in small quantities. The important thing is not to skew that balanced diet too much. Gorging on too many fatty or salty foods can have detrimental effects on your cholesterol levels and lead to high blood pressure. Remember to only go for these treats in moderation, or in some cases it may even be best to avoid them altogether,

Maintaining a healthy mix of carbohydrates, proteins and natural foods in manageable portions is the best way to go. Protein is usually found in meats and poultry, but recent growing demands for alternative sources of protein have meant that plant-based foods are very commonplace now – ideal for those not too fond of having meat with every meal.

If you’re concerned about you or a loved one not getting enough essential vitamins and minerals, there are plenty of supplements available that can be taken with regular meals to give you a bit of a boost. It’s important to recognise that they shouldn’t be seen as any kind of replacement for a well-balanced diet. You can’t magically get everything your body needs purely in supplement form!

Don’t forget to stay hydrated

Keeping on top of a well-balanced diet is just one aspect of staying healthy, however. It’s vital to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day, particularly as the weather becomes a bit warmer. It’s recommended to drink around two litres of water per day, but this can vary based on your age and size, as well as external heat and your activity levels throughout the day.

Our bodies are mostly made up of water, so maintaining good hydration allows the body to function properly and reduce the risk of illnesses. As we get older, we become more susceptible to dehydration, which can lead to a range of deeper problems or make minor illnesses even worse.

Of course, you’re not just restricted to drinking tap water all day. There are all kinds of drinks that can contribute to your daily liquid intake. Healthy options include fruit juice, milk and tea… but maybe go easy on the added sugar! Try to avoid fizzy drinks or those with a high caffeine content.
 

If you or a loved one is in need of a little extra assistance to help with shopping or preparing meals, SureCare operates teams of care workers nationwide to ensure you stay happy and healthy in the comfort of your own home.

Find your nearest SureCare branch to get in touch with your local team and let’s discuss how we can help you.