Aging and Thriving: How to Live Your Best Life – Nutrition
There’s no better time than National Nutrition Month to talk about nutrition for seniors. As I mentioned in my previous column, it can be challenging for seniors to maintain proper nutrition. Whether because they can’t get to the grocery store, rely on convenience foods, or simply lose interest in cooking, it can be a struggle.
There are several services available in the area to help seniors get to the grocery store (and do other errands). Seniors can contact their local community or senior centers to ask for help; the centers may also share information about other community organizations that can provide transportation or meals, like Meals-on-Wheels.
Some seniors turn to family, friends and neighbors to help them get to the grocery store, or for a healthy meal. To help organize these efforts, families can setup an account on TakeThemAMeal.com; the website allows friends and family members to schedule the meal they plan to provide, avoiding overlap. Family members and friends might also consider preparing a bit extra when they cook their own meals and freezing the extra serving for their loved ones to reheat later.
Cooking can be difficult for people who experience pain while standing, walking, gripping, and using utensils. Working with an occupational therapist to create modifications for the kitchen, cooking tools or utensils can help make cooking more enjoyable. To connect with an occupational therapist, seniors can talk to their doctor or call Granite State Independent Living, a statewide organization that provides services and supports to help people live independently, at 228- 9680 or go to www.gsil.org or North Country Home Health & Hospice Agency at 444-5317 or go to https://northcountryhomehealth-hospice.org.
Meal delivery services such as “Hello Fresh,” “Blue Apron” and “Plated” make meal planning and grocery shopping easy, sending the ingredients and recipes needed for the week’s meals directly to customers’ homes in refrigerated boxes. Meals are tailored to taste preferences; serving sizes and costs per meal vary from company to company. Seniors can research the services and costs on each company’s website to make sure it fits their needs and budget.
Losing interest in cooking can also happen, especially if a person recently started cooking for one. We hope seniors can find renewed enjoyment in cooking. Perhaps friends can take turns cooking for each other once a week, or perhaps host family dinners more often. Seniors can cook for a church event or volunteer at a local soup kitchen to share the joy of cooking with others – and enjoy a healthy meal themselves, too.
If seniors have questions about nutrition and diet, I recommend they speak with their primary care physicians for recommendations about available resources.
Seniors and their loved ones can also investigate senior living communities, where residents can enjoy three healthy meals each day prepared by culinary professionals, and what’s more – they can share meals with friends. And many senior living communities have dietitians on staff, who make sure menu offerings are healthy and well-balanced.
With some extra support from the community, organizations, friends and family, seniors can continue to eat delicious meals, making sure they get the nutrients they need to stay healthy and vibrant.