It is important to realize – when caring for anyone in a different demographic than yourself (children, disabled, or the elderly, etc.) – that everyone has different nutritional needs. For example, some foods that may appear as a nutritional fail to a middle-aged woman facing potential diabetes, will be an important part of the diet of one who is recuperating, elderly or for some other reason in need of a calorific boost.
Thus, when it comes to seniors, research should be undertaken as to what food groups should be represented in the wider part of the food pyramid. One reason for this is, according to research undertaken in the 1990s by Ross Laboratories, that it was “found that 30 percent of seniors skip at least one meal a day, while another study found that 16 percent of seniors consume fewer than 1000 calories a day, which is insufficient to maintain adequate nutrition.”
There are many reasons seniors are more prone to the pitfalls of malnutrition. First, appetite changes as we age. Second, invariably many elderly are taking various medications and these can hamper appetite or even bring a different (unfavorable) taste to food. Third, with increasing dental issues, it is harder and less enjoyable to eat. And fourth, the social issue of eating in a group of companions is often negated.
Senior homes are one way of combatting a lot of these issues. Another way is by visiting a nutritionist, and sitting with the client and figuring out what foods work best based on professional recommendations.
Proper nutrition can be a problem with the elderly… but it doesn’t have to be with proper care.