Malnutrition is a serious health issue in the elderly. Poor nutrition can lead to reduced immunity, increased susceptibility to disease, impaired cognitive abilities, and an overall decrease in the quality of life. If not addressed, it is a risk factor for increased mortality in older adults according to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
As the adult child or caregiver of an older adult, it is important to understand the challenges they face in maintaining adequate nutrition in their daily diets. Some are physical challenges such as difficulty in navigating around a kitchen due to a lack of mobility. Decreased physical strength can also make it difficult to use kitchen tools and utensils like a can opener or a food processor.
The aging process can also contribute to poor nutrition. Some elderly people suffer from dysphagia, which is difficulty in swallowing food or liquids. Others face diminished senses of smell and taste, making food less desirable than it once was. There is also fatigue that comes with poor nutrition. When you combine these factors with a restricted and less tasty diet - low sodium/low fat - some seniors require, the lack of desire to eat or prepare a healthy meal becomes obvious. And understandable.
The good news is that there are liquid nutritional supplements that can help aging parents maintain complete, balanced nutrition for everyday health and wellbeing. These drinks require no preparation, are easily swallowed and tolerated by the elderly, and satisfy their new nutritional needs with the appropriate amount of dietary fat, salt, sugar and cholesterol -- without the empty calories. The essential nutrients they contain - calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B-12, fiber, and potassium - play important roles in preventing osteoporosis, improving energy, maintaining nerve function, promoting healthy digestion, and managing blood pressure.
Drinks like Boost Glucose Control, Ensure, and Kate Farms Core Essentials are carefully balanced and contain key nutrients to help older people maintain optimal nutritional health. There are formulas designed for different nutritional needs, including diabetes, bone health, cancer treatments, and pre-op or post-surgery diets — issues many adult children will face as we deal with the declining health of our parents.
Products formulated for diabetics, such as Glucerna Shakes, could also be viable alternatives for non-diabetics because they build on the use of complex carbohydrates to give better blood glucose control, which is a key factor in avoiding Type 2 diabetes.
Liquid nutritional supplements are essentially senior nutrition in a bottle. They provide adult children and caregivers with a safe and easy way to improve their aging parent’s daily nutritional intake and overall health and wellbeing.