Seniors and Nutrition

Health issues and physical limitations sometimes make it difficult for seniors, the fastest growing segment of the U.S. population, to get the nutrients they need for a balanced diet. Poor nutrition and malnutrition occur in 15 to 50 percent of the elderly population.

The symptoms of malnutrition – weight loss, disorientation, lightheadedness, lethargy and loss of appetite – can easily be mistaken for illness or disease. Whether it’s a physical, mental or financial obstacle, many seniors simply don’t eat as well as they should. Arthritis can make cooking difficult, memory issues can result in forgetting to eat, and certain medications can reduce appetite. A survey by Ross

Laboratories found that 30 percent of seniors skip at least one meal a day. Another study found that 16 percent of seniors consume fewer than 1000 calories a day, which is insufficient to maintain adequate nutrition.

The good news? According to the U.S. Administration on Aging, 87 percent of older Americans have a chronic disease that could be improved through better nutrition.

Eating a healthy diet can reduce the risk for many conditions associated with aging, including anemia, confusion, infections, hip fractures, hypotension and wounds.

When combined with regular physical activity, it can also reduce the risk of many chronic diseases, including osteoporosis, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke and some cancers.

A good diet incorporates antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables such as blueberries, strawberries, cranberries, spinach, leafy vegetables, broccoli and cauliflower; cold-water fish containing omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon, trout, halibut and tuna; lean meats high in protein; whole grains; and good fats such as olive oil, nuts and avocados.

At Highgate, we emphasize meals made from scratch, using nutritious, natural ingredients. No potato flakes or powdered eggs for our residents! Instead of fructosebased juices, we serve milk, teas and vitamin waters. We use less white sugar and fewer refined white starches than most senior living communities, preferring the goodness of whole grains, legumes, lentils and rice. We’ve eliminated all saturated fats and use extra virgin olive oil instead. Of course we’re also big believers in fresh fruits and vegetables. For more about staying healthy with age, read our ebook Nutritious, Delicious. 

Senior Nutrition Guide Nutritious Delicious