We all need a diet (food and drink) for health. There are times in our lives when diet is more important than at other times. One of these is in old age. As we age, we need to maintain our muscle mass and strength more so than anything else so that we can successfully age and be strong and independent. If we lose muscle mass our function in a number of ways is reduced. We will find it difficult to walk upstairs or rise from a chair and there will be increased risk of falling and fractures. Food absorption can change as we age and this can lead to malnutrition which has serious consequences on bone health, skin quality and wound healing as well as muscle health.
A good appetite and a varied diet usually means that you are getting enough nutrition and nutrients – vitamins, protein, fat, fibre and carbohydrate. If there is a reduction in intake or appetite, you might need to have an assessment to ensure you don’t become malnourished and to provide assistance with the food you require for good health. Some people find having a number of small meals each day rather than the three usual ones helps with maintaining their adequate nutritional input and sometimes a nutritional supplement may be prescribed by the GP or dietitian.
As we age, we find that eating alone becomes the norm and this can feel very lonely. Sharing a meal with family or a friend is often a good way of stimulating your interest in food again and your appetite will improve. Make sure you plan a regular social activity with a meal.
There are many websites that can assist in your understanding of healthy diet:
So you can see it is all connected – muscle tone, mobility, strength, good diet, successful ageing!