We know that good nutrition can help to improve and extend lives. Yet it is not always clear to most people what “eating right” is. This is especially true for seniors, because they have different nutritional needs. These are a handful of senior nutrition myths that are important to know about.
Nutrition Myth #1 – You can have whatever you want if you are not overweight
We all know people who are thin, but can stuff themselves with double-cheeseburgers or eat a half gallon of ice cream. The truth is that this is still harmful, even if it does not lead to weight gain. Eating too many high-fat foods can still lead to heart disease. An improper sugar-heavy diet can still lead to diabetes.
Nutrition Myth #2 – Weak appetite? Safe to skip meals
Skipping meals has a number of different drawbacks. For starters, it could lead to our body craving food to such a degree that we might overindulge the next time that we eat. Alternatively (and somewhat paradoxically), it is possible to decrease a senior’s appetite even further by skipping a meal. Another problem with skipping meals is the negative impact that it has on blood sugar levels.
Nutrition Myth #3 – Senior communities have awful food
This is one of the senior living communities’ most common stereotypes. It is likely to be attributed to the time where only nursing homes were available, the days before assisted living. These nursing homes were highly institutionalized, and to be honest, probably did have some dreadful food options.
Some senior communities hire some very talented chefs. The days of everything coming prepackaged or food being made for 1,000 people at a time are no more. This is one of the reasons that we highly recommend that you try at least one meal before selecting a senior living community.
Nutrition Myth #4 – Food is only fuel – eating alone is fine
There are often bad outcomes if elderly people who live alone are forced to prepare food by themselves. This may be because of cognitive or physical issues. Eating each meal alone can also increase feelings of anxiety, stress, and loneliness. This is why it is a good idea for seniors to eat with others. This is yet another reason why we highly recommend that you check out the dining area before ever selecting a senior care facility.
Nutrition Myth #5 – Losing appetite is normal for older people
Because of their decreased energy output and metabolic changes, seniors do need less food than younger adults do. However, it is not normal for them to experience an outright loss of appetite. This may be indicative of a serious health problem. This is why it is important to look for changes by periodically weighing seniors.