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Page 22Senior Times - April 2019NUTRITION AND COMPANIONSHIP: A RECIPE FOR HEALTHY AGING“Ann,” a family caregiver, was worried about her 85-year-old mom “Madge.” A former connoisseur of fine dining, Madge, a widow, had lost interest in eating since her husband died. Ann knew the importance of senior nutri- tion and proper diet since her mom recently had been diagnosed with diabetes. But cooking had become more difficult because of the arthritis in her mother’s hands and Madge was starting to show signs of dementia, which was impacting her ability to remember to cook and eat.Arthritis – Since mobility often is a prob- lem for those with arthritis, preparing meals could be a challenge, as Ann found with her mother. In addition, your senior’s doctor could recommend an anti-inflammatory diet. By conservative estimates, about 54 million adults have doctor-diagnosed arthritis, the most of which is osteoarthritis, which affects an esti- mated 31 million Americans.The impact of senior loneliness is not to be underestimated. Research by Home Instead, Inc., franchisor of the Home Instead Senior Care® network, shows lack of companionship is the biggest mealtime challenge for seniors. Dining alone can magnify loneliness and feel- ings of depression, which in turn can suppress appetite and lead to poor eating.Ann’s story illustrates a scenario that many family caregivers face. Nutritional needs of seniors do often change as they age. What’s more, the conditions of aging such as medical illnesses and mobility issues could make fulfill- ing the proper nutritional needs more difficult. Social isolation and lack of companionship might further jeopardize an older adult’s health and well-being.Heart Disease – Heart disease can lead to the potentially serious conditions of heart attack and congestive heart failure. Diet is important to preventing these conditions and maintaining their health if older adults already have been diagnosed with these diseases. The experts say that a reduced salt diet may be a part of manag- ing swelling in the ankles and legs, and keeping weight down in seniors with conditions like congestive heart failure.That was the case with Madge. When the family hired Home Instead Senior Care to come into the home to assist, Madge still wasn’t eat- ing. Then the caregiver got to know the family and found out Madge had loved to eat out in earlier years. So, the caregiver made dinner at home an event complete with special touches like a tablecloth. She dusted off the fine china, added candles, and really celebrated mealtime with music and companionship.According to the professionals, six key nutrients – calcium, Vitamins D and B12, sodium, fiber, and water – are important to successful aging for any older adult.Dementia – Dementia conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease may present a host of challenges for an older adult, from safety issues including the inability to remember to turnAnyone can drop off a meal, but engaging seniors while they eat, even sitting down with a cup of tea, could make such a difference in his or her social life. Spending mealtime with your loved one as often as possible or even telephoning around the lunch or dinner hour might make an important impact on his or her health.Nutrition may be even more important to seniors facing these common conditions:off the stove to forgetting to eat altogether.A senior with dementia likely will need addi- tional help at home to manage and ensure a healthy diet and proper nutrition. Accordingto the Alzheimer’s Association, in general, a healthy diet is one that is lower in saturated fats. Difficulty swallowing can be part of the progression of Alzheimer’s disease so a special diet may be required to manage these issuesas well.Understanding the nutritional, medical and emotional needs of an older adult can help a family caregiver ensure a loved one is getting the proper diet.Diabetes – According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 100 million U.S. adults are now living with diabetes or pre-di- abetes. The report finds that as of 2015, 30.3 million Americans – 9.4 percent of the U.S. population – have diabetes. Older adults with diabetes or pre-diabetes may be advised to fol- low a special low-carb or diabetic diet to better control their blood sugar levels. It’s important that seniors with diabetes closely follow a doc- tor’s orders. Observing and recording a loved one’s food intake often is an important part of managing this disease.Aside from medical conditions, these five reasons also could impact an older adult’s ability to get the proper nutrition:1. Problems chewingFor other resources, including senior meal delivery options, visit Meals on Wheels. For those of you that want to get out and enjoy eating with others visit a Senior Dining Center. See page 3 for a list of sites by county. A new site is now available in Athens. Call 1-866-200- 8877 for more details.2. Medications that interfere with sense of taste 3. Depression4. Inability to cook5. Loneliness due to eating aloneHome Instead Senior Care Network is the source for this article.For Admissions and Tour Information... Please Call (269) 870-5537 • marketing@gantonsc.comEnjoy the advantages ofAssisted Living14420 Helmer Road South 14661 Helmer Road South 14316 Helmer Road South Battle Creek, MI 49015 Battle Creek, MI 49015 Battle Creek, MI 49015Ganton Senior Communities are committedto providing an atmosphere that gives people the opportunityto thrive. Our Battle Creek campus o ers three vibrant communities where seniors can take advantage of services such as diverse life enrichment programs, restaurant quality meals, housekeeping and laundry services, assistance with activities of daily living and medication management. Sta  is onsite 24/7 to assist residents in the comfort of their private“While I was at Evergreen, I was made to feel important. Everyone was so friendly and helpful. I enjoyed the programs they had and especially the therapy. 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