As our parents age, one of the worries we have to contend with is whether or not they are receiving adequate nutrition from their daily diets. The simple fact is that, as we age, our nutritional needs change. However, most of our diets never make the transition necessary to accommodate our changing nutritional requirements.
Undernutrition in the Elderly
According to one study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, “Undernutrition is a risk factor for increased mortality in older adults,” making it a problem that can’t be ignored.
Undernutrition in the elderly is driven by three primary factors:
- Physical difficulties chewing and swallowing many foods
- Cognitive difficulties with remembering how to prepare nutritious meals or with remembering to eat at all
- Fatigue and a lack of motivation or desire to prepare meals
- Changing nutritional needs due to age-related physical changes in the body
How can liquid nutritional supplement drinks help?
Each of the factors that can lead to undernutrition is addressed by adding a liquid nutritional supplement to your parent’s daily diet. These drinks require no preparation, are easily swallowed and tolerated by the elderly and satisfy the need for added nutrition without empty calories and with the appropriate amount of dietary fat, salt, sugar and cholesterol. Drinks like Boost Glucose Control and Ensure are carefully balanced to help your elderly parent maintain optimal health; various formulas are designed for different nutritional needs including individuals who are diabetic, need to improve bone health, are battling cancer, or are either pre or post-surgery – issues which many of us will face as we deal with the declining health of our parents. Products formulated for diabetics, such as Glucerna Shakes, could be viable alternatives for non-diabetics as well since they build on the use of complex carbohydrates to give better blood glucose control – a key factor in avoiding Type 2 diabetes.
The bottom line on liquid nutrition for the elderly
The good news is that the majority of scientific studies indicate that adding a low-volume nutritional supplement drink can significantly improve the health of elderly individuals. These studies have researched the effects of using liquid nutritional supplements as a dietary aid for elderly individuals who reside in hospitals, nursing homes and those who continue to reside at home or in an assisted-living environment. The conclusion of these studies is that, regardless of the setting, significant nutritional benefits can be realized by incorporating a daily liquid nutritional supplement drink into your loved one’s diet. And, they not only improve overall general health, they help increase energy, cognition and even mood.