Your Proactive Caregiver Advocate: Dr. Cynthia Speaks

Topic: Nutritional Health in our Elderly

You may or may not know my dissertation centered on nutritional health in the baby-boomer populations. The population has retired or is close to retirement. This population also has adult children and grandchildren. The eating habits of the family typically are cultural and generational. Once we begin to watch over our elderly, we have to think about preparing meals for those in our family who become unable to prepare their meals. Caregivers become responsible for the nutritional health of their loved ones.

What makes nutrition important in our older adults. We know that dietary needs change with aging, so nutrients that fuel the body become important for aging populations. Often the challenge of achieving nutritional health comes with obstacles due to the reality of older adults’ decision-making, tilts between medications and bills, and monies left go to high-fat, high sugar, high salt, and high-calorie products. Eating foods in this category not only does but will impact our loved-ones chronic conditions and health overall. Nutritional-related concerns are something we all must take seriously. We do have control over what is prepared and provided to our elderly. Maintaining a diet is vitally important for older adults. While researching nutritional health practices, I found that what one knows does not translate into what one does. I suggest changing that narrative and utilizing what we know to ensure we are preparing and providing meals that matter to our loved ones.

Why is this important? Well, I’m glad you asked! Aging loved ones sometimes have many health challenges, too many to name here, but consider that your nutritional actions can reduce obesity by avoiding the wrong combinations of foods. Proper nutrition will help with our immune system and bone health. Let me share insights considering macronutrients and micronutrients. Simple insights, but powerful and helpful. Here goes!

When considering macronutrients, think of high fiber foods(roughage, fruits, and vegetables) and omega-3 fatty acids(fish, soybean). When you consider micronutrients, know that they are not produced in the body and must be derived from the diet. Water-soluble or fat-soluble vitamins can be dissolved in water. They play an important role in producing energy. Since they are not stored in the body, it is important to take them enough from different food sources. Fat-soluble … vitamins A, D, E, and K are essential fat-soluble vitamins. Their role is helping the immune system and our bone health, whereas, water-soluble vitamins can melt in liquids and are used as energy sources. Vitamins B-12 and B-6 are the most well-known, often considered the B-complex vitamins. As Your Proactive Caregiver Advocate, the moral of this story is, I want you to understand that proper nutrition matters, and you can be the catalyst to improving the health of your loved one. Be safe! Be well! Bye for now.



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Dr. Cynthia J. Hickman

Dr. Cynthia J. Hickman

Dr. Hickman is the author of From the Lens of Daughter, Nurse, and Caregiver: A Journey of Duty and Honor and The Black Book of Important for Caregivers.