Not only do seniors have different nutritional needs than
younger adults, they also take more medication, have higher rates
of chronic medical conditions-such as diabetes and heart
disease-and are more likely to live alone; all of which contribute
to the rising numbers of older Americans who are seriously impacted
by a deficient diet.
Know the signs and symptoms of
senior malnourishment and how to protect your older loved ones
from this preventable state.
Causes of Malnutrition in Seniors
- Lack of interest in cooking
- Living alone and eating for one
- Changing taste buds
- Medication side-effects that supress appetite or create bitter
- Restricted diets such as low sodium or low fat diets
- Preferring to drink alcohol over eating
- Trouble swallowing
- Trouble chewing due to sore gums or poor dental health
- Limited income to buy nutritious food
- Expensive medications leave little room for food
- Lack of mobility - unable to get to the store
- Depression and dementia
Senior Malnutrition Prevention Checklist
- Check the refrigerator and observe eating
- Watch for health changes and fluctuation in
- Encourage foods rich in the 5 key vitamins and
- Boost hydration with 9 glasses of water a
- Ask for help when you need it from sources
like A Place for Mom
Top 5 Vitamins and Nutrients for Older Adults
- Folic Acid 400 mcg per day: Foods rich in
Folic Acid: spinach, asparagus, breakfast cereal,
- B-12 2.4 mcg per day: Foods rich in
B-12: turkey, salmon, crab, clams, mussels, chicken, beef,
- Vitamin C 75-90 mg per day: Foods rich in
Vitamin C: oranges, grapefruit, strawberries, tomatoes, sweet
red pepper, broccoli, potatoes.
- Vitamin D 600-800 IU per day: Foods rich
in Vitamin D: canned salmon, sardines or mackerel, instant
oatmeal, cereal, egg yolk, soy milk, cow's milk or orange juice
fortified with Vitamin D.
- Essential Fatty Acids (EFA) Foods rich in
EFAs: flaxseed oil, canned tuna, oysters, herring or sardines,
salmon, trout, crab.
Ways to Help Seniors Stay Hydrated
Dehydration is one of the top 10 reasons seniors end up in the
emergency room. A good guide for anyone over the age 65 is to
drink 9 glasses of fluid a day. Water is
best, but all liquid counts! It's important to
watch sugar intake and to discourage drinking alcohol.
- Soup - an excellent way to increase fluid and
- Coffee with milk
- Tea - caffeinated or herbal
- Iced tea - black tea or fruit-flavored herbal
- Popsicles - natural, all fruit are best
- Juice - 100% juice is best
- Smoothies - add protein powder, yogurt and
vegetables for extra nutrition
- Coconut water - a good way to get natural
- Milk - chilled soy milk, rice milk, goat or
cow's milk. You may also consider steaming milk and adding a
squeeze of chocolate syrup or cinnamon.
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Spread the Word: Help Fight Senior Malnutrition
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