Thursday, July 06, 2006

Older people need food

…Sounds pretty obvious, doesn’t it? But how do you think Meals on Wheels got started? Appetite lessens as one ages and sometimes older people don’t eat enough. Sometimes certain meds can also kill appetite or instill a faint queasiness.

…The Health Behavior News Service (they’re great—go to www.cfah.org) recently treated this topic, ticking off the barriers that can keep older people from eating.

…Such barriers include difficulty in buying food. The store could be close, but the person might not be able to get to it. They may no longer be reliable drivers, for one thing.

…Older people may have sensitive teeth or trouble chewing.

…They may have no one to cook for or eat with, which can dampen enthusiasm.

…A doctor may notice a weight loss in the person, but not follow up. A nutritional questionnaire is not a bad idea for anyone over 65.

…Many older adults are still fighting fat and may not be making healthy food choices.

…They also get less thirsty than younger people and may be dehydrated.

…Having nice, juicy fruit on hand is a start.

…Yogurt, packages of sliced cheese, whole wheat crackers, peanut butter, nuts, juice milk, even some chocolate …these are good because many older people like to nibble and snack.

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