Diet and Nutrition for Elderly People

Old and young (GFDL/Mbjerke)

Healthy eating and maintaining a physically active lifestyle is essential for people over the age of 50 since metabolic rate slows down by as much as thirty percent over a lifetime. Elderly people are unable to digest fatty food as their gastrointestinal tract retracts over a period of time making it more prone to chronic problems like constipation. Decreased need for food complicated by the person’s competency to balance need and intake eventually should bring about a healthy change in the eating patterns. Not only will it prolong longevity but also reduce aging’s side effects.

Avoiding aging side effects: Geriatric nutrition which deals with health of elderly over the age of 65 years suggests that diet plays an important role in aging gracefully avoiding all problems associated with constipation, anemia, cancers, diabetes, osteoporosis and heart disease. A diet that accommodates all parameters of elderly nutrition including adequate fiber, protein, calcium & supplements provides adequate intake necessary to maintain body composition. Also, it is essential that the diet is soft on a sensitive stomach and easily chewable as elderly people face denture problems.

Get more exercise: For people above their 50’s moderate exercise is a must to step up their activity level since falling metabolic rates and other chronic problems could send an invitation to new diseases. Try to include yoga and hobbies like gardening, biking in your regime.

Stay Hydrated: Include liquids plus water, no more than 8 glasses a day as the quench for thirst decreases with age. This includes water, water-bases liquids, vegetables & fruits, and soups.

What to Eat: Diet of an elderly person should include two servings of whole grain
cereal or bread a day, fruit rich in Vit C, meat or meat substitute of high quality protein such as fish, poultry, eggs & beans in addition to two servings of vegetables including leafy. Furthermore, the diet should also include two glasses of skimmed milk or yoghurt, cheese or ice-cream. Of course, eight glasses of water plus liquids is recommended.

Geriatric Nutrition

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