As we get older, it is more difficult for us to maintain the level of activity and health we had in our younger years. In addition, as we age into retirement and later years of our lives, paying attention to our eating habits and diets becomes less of a priority. “I’ve made it this far, what’s the harm in eating a little bit less strictly?”
As mundane as it may seem, eating properly is a factor in long term health and longevity. In addition, getting proper nutrition is a major indicator of frailty in later years. Frailty, or the weakening of our bones and muscles as we age, can cause serious health problems. From declining health and mental function due to decreased muscle mass and bone density, to an overall higher risk of serious complications from falls or other health events, getting proper nutrition is a major part of staying healthy into our elder years.
Although it can be easy to let nutrition and healthy eating fly by the wayside as we hit retirement age and beyond, we can’t forget that keeping a healthy lifestyle is one of the strongest indicators of a healthy fulfilling elderhood. A recent study tracking elder’s eating habits and their “frailty” (determined by bone density, fatigue, muscle mass, etc.), found that those who were significantly frailer than average also showed a strong correlation with poor nutrition.
A geriatric care manager, like those of us at Senior Steps, takes on some of the responsibility of maintaining a healthy lifestyle and pursuing the healthiest and happiest elderhood for our clients. Some of our clients may prefer to eat Kraft macaroni and cheese for every meal (including breakfast!), but in our role as geriatric care managers we work with each of them to offer a healthier lifestyle and better options for eating. Maybe add in some broccoli!