Getting Seniors to Think About Nutrition
As we age, our bodies no longer take in as much nutrition as they used to. This means that senior citizens, aside from experiencing the usual changes associated with age, are at risk of not getting what they need to keep their bodies running. We can usually see the effects of this on the mouth, specifically their teeth and gums.
Thankfully, there is something that can be done about this. You see, there are two main reasons that seniors are at risk. The first is due to being on a fixed (and usually small) income. If they can’t buy more nutritious food, we are setting them up for failure.
The second reason is that they don’t know about the changes in their nutritional needs. The Health Promotion Board is hoping to fix this latter problem by providing much needed educational information to seniors. The toolkit they have constructed contains an educational poster and a cookbook full of nutritious recipes. The kit, aptly named the Recipe for Healthy Ageing, also contains specific information and guidelines for getting enough protein and calcium.
No matter what age we are, eating a healthy diet is the best way to prevent disease, especially diseases which are chronic. Since senior citizens are more susceptible to chronic conditions, this is one group that we should be focusing on. Sadly, this is often not the case, especially for seniors in assisted living facilities.
Even small steps like reducing salt and eating more fruit and vegetables dramatically reduces the risk of stroke and heart disease. But, if seniors don’t have this information, then they don’t know it is something they have control over. Not all will opt for a healthier diet, but the option should ALWAYS be available.
The Health Promotion Board planned ahead when designing the toolkit, it is currently available in four languages. There will be a quarter million copies made available in paper format, but it is also able to be viewed online. If the kit is successful, more paper copies and language options are likely to be available.
Since senior citizens are such an underserved group, this toolkit may seem like a drop in the bucket, but it is a great start. In other areas of the world, as people age their communities or family members take care of them. In the United States this concept is foreign. Many seniors will find themselves having to take care of themselves even as mundane tasks become more challenging.
The educational toolkit will help, it really will. I think about my grandpa. For fifty years my grandmother cooked all of his meals. When she passed, he was lucky if he could boil his own water. The recipes in the book are not only nutritious, but many are fairly simple. The point is to get the elderly eating better, even if they aren’t master chefs. That is exactly what this toolkit provides, a quick and easy solution for those who need it most.
Before treating gum, tooth, or other oral problems consult with Dr. JJ Edderai. A dental check-up every three to four months will allow Dr. Edderai to keep a watchful eye on your oral health and prevent cavities before they start. For answers to some of the most commonly asked questions, visit my FAQ page at http://www.northmiamibeachdentist.com/faqs/.
Copyright Dr. Jean-Jacques Edderai -2016