11th-17th March 2019 is Nutrition & Hydration Week. Nutrition and hydration are two of the most important things to consider when trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle and it is particularly important for aging adults to do the same.
As the body ages it becomes more susceptible to dehydration and a loss of appetite which in turn can lead to illness. This leaves older adults vulnerable.
This can be due to physiological changes, as well as a reduction in mental and physical health over time. For example, if a resident in a care home does not receive the level of support that they require, their nutrition and hydration levels are more likely to deteriorate as they may forget to eat and drink (especially if they have Dementia).
Staying Hydrated: The Benefits for Older Adults
- Proper hydration can reduce fatigue, improve endurance, lower your maximum heart rate, and more. It can also help you to be less sore after exercise.
- Aids weight loss. Increasing your water intake may help you achieve better weight loss results.
- People who drink more water tend to have better moods. One study found that when people drank less 2.5 liters per day, the participants experienced significantly less confusion and fatigue.
- Staying hydrated can protect against kidney stones, constipation, asthma, UTI’s, and coronary heart disease.
Healthy Eating: The Benefits for Older Adults
- Weight loss. Losing weight can help to reduce the risk of chronic conditions. If an older person is overweight or obese, they have a higher risk of developing several conditions, including: heart disease, poor bone density and even some cancers.
- Eating a healthful diet can help a person with diabetes to: manage blood glucose levels, blood pressure and cholesterol
- A diet with adequate calcium and magnesium is necessary for strong bones. Keeping the bones healthy is vital in preventing osteoporosis and osteoarthritis later in life.
- According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation, up to 80% of cases of heart disease and stroke can be prevented by making lifestyle changes, such as increasing levels of physical activity and eating healthy.
Here are some of our tips on eating and drinking well with Dementia:
- Drink at least 2 litres of water a day to prevent confusion and fatigue brought on by UTI’s
- Eat with family or friends
- Allow plenty of time for eating and meals
- Have flexible meal times and make sure to have healthy snacks throughout the day
- Make sure that food is interesting and not the same every day
- Prepare meals with others
- Keep an eye on any weight changes
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