When we meet with seniors in their homes, one of the questions we ask about is what they eat. Unfortunately, we find that many elderly people simply don’t have the resources, energy or desire to cook healthy meals. They live on snacks, unhealthy frozen dinners and fast food. Some just skip meals altogether. In fact, according to Merck Institute of Aging and Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ‘two-thirds of older adults fail to adhere to a healthy diet and one-third fail to exercise.’*
It’s a pretty scary and eye opening problem that needs to be addressed. From the NFESH website:
- 1 in 7 Seniors is threatened by hunger.
- 8.3 million Seniors faced the threat of hunger in 2010.
- This reflects a 78% increase since 2001 – and a 34% increase since the start of the recession in 2007.
- The threat of hunger for seniors increased in 44 states since 2007.
But when you live all alone, or are unable to cook your own meals- how on earth are you going to eat healthy?
Fortunately, there are some great options available! Unfortunately, many people don’t take full advantage of them.
- Hiring help! Capability Homecare can provide a caregiver to prepare meals. Our caregivers are trained in nutrition and are able to do grocery shopping, meal planning, preparation and clean up. They also provide conversation and companionship!
- Family members can help- either by preparing meals or helping find assistance
- Meals on Wheels programs
- Senior Centers– most senior centers provide meals on a daily basis. These are great opportunities for seniors to meet friends, eat healthy and have something to look forward to in their day. Transportation can often be provided.
- Hiring a personal chef. This isn’t as crazy or expensive as it may seem! Check out this local chef’s website: Mesadevida
Because so many seniors have special dietary requirements due to diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease, high blood pressure, kidney disease and osteoporosis, it is especially important for them to have access to eat healthy, nutritious meals. As the title suggests, you are what you eat and it is very important to make sure your loved one is getting good meals every day.