Poor nutrition is a leading risk factor in many health conditions. If malnutrition leads to weight loss, it increases the risk of dying by 2x. Your mom’s been ill lately and her doctor suggested working with a home health care nurse as malnutrition is a concern.
What are the top nutritional concerns among older women? What should you be considering when it comes to your mom’s diet and how will a home health care nurse help?
Getting Too Little B Vitamins
Three essential B vitamins – folic acid, B-6, and B-12 – are often missing from older adults’ diets. All three are important. Folic acid helps with the production of healthy red blood cells. All of them help with mood, cognitive function, and brain health.
B vitamins are plentiful in nutritional yeast, legumes, fortified juices and cereals, poultry, and organ meats like liver. There are blood tests a doctor can do to check your levels and determine if your mom is deficient.
Ingesting Too Little Calcium and Vitamin D
Calcium and vitamin D are essential for bone strength and many women don’t get enough. Vitamin D is easiest to get through exposure to the sun, but people avoid sun exposure due to the skin cancer risk.
A woman over 50 should be getting 1,200 mg of calcium per day. What are some of the best sources of calcium?
- Broccoli – 112 mg
- Dried Figs – 96 mg
- Fresh Mozzarella – 242 mg
- Plain Yogurt – 207 mg
- Skim Milk – 244 mg
- Tofu – 126 mg
- Watercress – 188 mg
Eating Too Many Convenience and Snack Foods
A chocolate brownie may be very satisfying, but most are high in sugar, high in fat, and lack nutrients. If your mom eats a lot of convenient or snack foods without looking at nutrition, it can impact her health.
Learning to make brownies with almond or oat flour and pureed dates or bananas instead of sugar is better. She also needs to limit the amount of snack foods that she’s filling up on.
Not Getting Enough Protein
Protein is another item women often don’t get enough of. It’s essential for muscle health. Sarcopenia is a health condition where muscle mass decreases and can impact balance and mobility.
A general guideline for older adults is about 1 to 2 grams of protein per kilogram of weight. For a 150-pound woman, that’s 68 kilograms. Your mom should aim for around 68 to 136 grams of protein.
Malnutrition isn’t something to ignore. If your mom’s doctor has recommended she makes changes to avoid further health complications, support her in those goals. Home health care nurses are good partners to have when making health-related changes.
Home health care nurses can draw blood to check levels as the doctor requires them. They can work with your mom on necessary dietary changes and administer IVs for infusions of nutrients she was severely low on.
If you or someone you know needs home health care in Buffalo, MN, contact Adara Home Health. We provide quality and affordable home care services for many fragile or senior members in the communities we serve. Call us at (888) 660-5772 for more information.