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Healthy Eating Choices for Seniors with Mobility Issues

Posted by Cory Luckner on Jan 5, 2018 5:19:46 PM

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Aging is part of life, and with it, comes challenges that can make everyday life more difficult. One of these challenges is regarding mobility. Mobility problems you may notice can be unsteadiness when walking, difficulty sitting in and standing up from a chair, or being more prone to falling. Common conditions that contribute to mobility problems in older people are muscle weakness, joint problems, pain, chronic diseases, and neurological difficulties.

Dangers

The most common mobility problem that senior adults experience is falls. Unfortunately,lady falling on stairs.jpg falls usually lead to broken bones, severe bruising, and anxiety when on stairs or walking in dimly lit areas. The bones of elderly adults that break from a fall take much longer to heal than they would have in their younger days, often due to osteoporosis and other bodily changes. Falls can lead to full time use of a cane, walker, or even a wheelchair, and falls are a major cause of disability and death among the elderly.

Proper nutriution is essential. It not only helps prevent falls by making your bones and muscles stronger to begin with, it also helps your body heal quicker if you should suffer a fall. Getting older means you have a new, special set of nutritional needs which can make it difficult for you to get the proper balance of nutritional foods.

For instance, if you have experienced a fall and are nervous to move around, then your lack of exercise has probably caused your body mass to increase. These body transformations happen gradually and can sneak up on you without you even noticing. Due of these changes, it may be necessary to adjust what you are eating, how much of it you are eating, and when you eat it.

Weight Gain

As you get older, your metabolism slows down,  and your digestive system changes which may affect appetite.  Your taste buds change which affects the way you taste foods, and your changing emotional health all add up to new nutritional needs. Sticking to a healthy diet can be difficult, but there are ways to help you manage this change. It’s small, incremental changes that can keep you on the path to success.

Make and Follow a List
It is key to have a plan before going to the grocery store to help prevent impulse buying. You need to make a list every time you go shopping and stick to it. List all the foods you and your doctor discussed in making your eating plan. Plan your meals out for the week to ensure you are making healthy meals and utilizing all the food you buy to prevent waste. The grocery store is not your friend, as it is strategically designed to encourage you to spend more money on things you do not necessarily need. Essentials, such as milk and eggs, are in the very back of the store. The stores force you to walk through cakes, cookies, candy, and a plethora of other foods you do not need. Impulse buys are a grocery stores key to padding its profit margins. Stick to the outer ring of the supermarket and you can mainly stick to whole foods and avoid preserved and salt laden foods.

Don’t be Afraid to Ask for Help
If you have a spouse, child, or friend that can meet you at the grocery store or take the listHelping older people.jpg and get the items for you, take advantage of it. Build a circle of support and lean on them for help, particularly if you are housebound with an injury. You may also look at hiring an in-home caregiver for yourself or a family member. Research these well, as many offer help with meal planning, cooking, and grocery shopping.

Eat Smaller Meals More Frequently
Consider eating many smaller meals each day. As you age your digestive system slows down as does your metabolism. If you eat smaller meals throughout the day instead of three large meals, it allows your body to properly digest the foods you eat, optimizing the nutrition your body receives from the food. It is easy to prepare these meals in plastic bags and have them ready to eat at a moment’s notice. Studies have shown that many small meals a day for older people helps level blood sugar levels and keep their energy level up.

Have Healthy Meals and Snacks at the Ready
After grocery shopping and stocking your kitchen full of healthy foods, the next step is to prepare the ingredients for meals and snacks. Consider preparing food ahead and storing it in the refrigerator or the freezer for quick meals in the coming days. If you have energy and feel up to it, go for it and prepare a feast for a few days.

You need to take advantage of the moments when you feel well and have the extra energy to cook food, tomorrow you may plan to do cook but don’t have the energy to do so. By having healthy snacks and meals at the ready, it will help you make wise choices when it comes to eating, avoiding unhealthy, pre-packaged foods for the sake of convenience.

Stick to Whole Foods
Whole foods are foods that haven’t been through a processing or refining process. These foods are nutrient dense and include fresh produce, lean meat and fish, eggs, legumes, chicken, and nuts. Nutrient dense foods are full of nutrition like healthy fats, fiber, vitamins, and protein. The other benefit from these foods are that they have less empty calories so if you have a big appetite you can pack more away and not feel guilty about it. As you get older, Vitamin D and calcium become more important for your body to prevent osteoporosis. Many whole foods can provide this benefit. It is recommended to eat leafy greens, chickpeas, nuts and seeds to boost your calcium. Fish and eggs are a great source of Vitamin D you can take advantage of.

Meal Delivery Services
Meal delivery services, such as Blue Apron or Home Chef, offer whole foods from organicFood Delivery.jpg sources and can be an easy way to get healthy food. You choose the meal you want, and the ingredients are delivered right to your door. A recipe comes with the food which is easy to follow, and even the most novice cook can prepare nutritious, delicious meals.

Some grocery stores have also started home delivery services. It is a rather easy process if you have the internet. Just log on to the store's site, create an account, and order what you want. If you do not use the internet, a mail program is available at some stores which allows you to order the foods you want and mail it to the store for delivery.

Certain stores may not provide delivery of their goods, but you can pre-order the foods and they will have them packed and ready for you to pick up at the store. They even put them in your car for you.

It is a brand new year and the perfect time to start making brand new habits! Make nutrition a priority in 2018!

Topics: Mobility

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