It’s hard to imagine your dad experiencing malnutrition. While many people associate malnutrition with being underweight and not having enough to eat, there’s more to it. Malnutrition occurs when your body isn’t getting the right nutrients. Your dad doesn’t like to cook, so he eats a lot of packaged foods and frozen pizzas. He’s experiencing malnutrition as a result. Here are some of the things you and your parent’s elder care aides should keep in mind about malnutrition in the elderly.
The More Common Deficiencies in Older Adults
What are some of the common nutritional deficiencies in older adults? Fiber and vitamin D are among the most common, with more than half of surveyed older adults not getting enough.
- Vitamin D (52%) – Helps with bone health
- Vitamin B12 (27.3%) – Aids the production of red blood cells
- Protein (46.5% of those 70 or older) – Helps with muscle health
- Iron (11%) – Helps carry oxygen in the blood from one organ to another
- Folate (8.7%) – Keeps cells healthy and helps with red blood cell production
- Fiber (95%) – Helps retain water in the intestines to prevent constipation and also helps bind cholesterol in the bloodstream to help lower cholesterol levels
A balanced diet with all of the recommended food groups and portion sizes helps your dad get the right nutrients. To do this, someone may need to help him learn how to build meal plans that meet his needs.
What Does Your Dad Need to Eat?
So what should your dad be eating each day? These are the recommendations.
- 2 cups of fruit
- 2.5 cups of vegetables (aim for a variety of colors)
- 3 cups of low-fat dairy (yogurt, milk, cottage cheese, etc.)
- 6 ounces of whole grains
- 5.6 ounces of lean protein (fish, chicken breast, tofu, etc.)
- 26 grams of heart-healthy oils (avocado, extra virgin olive oil, walnut, etc.)
If possible, ask your dad’s doctor to have him see a dietitian. This is one of the best ways to get meal plans that match your dad’s dietary needs, especially if he has a health condition like diabetes, high blood pressure, or kidney disease. His diet may need to be adjusted carefully to help him stay healthy.
Hire an Elder Care Provider to Prepare Meals
Would it help your family if your dad had someone to cook meals for him? With elder care services, your dad has a caregiver to help him create a weekly menu, shop for the necessary ingredients, and cook meals for him.
His caregiver can carry in the groceries, store them properly, and make sure he’s eating a balanced diet. Call our elder care specialist to learn more.