Nutrition & Nourishment
One of the basic needs of a person to live is food and they are a necessity to maintain health and wellness. We get our energy to move, to do our work and even to do our daily functions from the calories of the food that we eat.
Just like a car that needs a fuel to start and run, calories is our fuel for energy. People need different amount of calories according to their daily requirements.
Adults and especially the elderly have the same kind of nutrients they need every day and this includes vitamins and minerals that the body requires to maintain its function.
In the long-term care residents will depend on the health care givers for their nutritional requirements. We all know that each and every individual does not have the same nutritional needs, even though they are in the same age bracket. That is why it is important to consider the caloric needs according to each individual.
Proper Hydration & Balanced Diet
Every persons diet must be a balance of proteins that help cell growth, carbohydrates that provide direct energy needed and fats that fuel cells. It also should include the right amount of vitamins, minerals and water to maintain the functions of all bodily organs.
Proper hydration through adequate water intake plays a vital role in maintaining the temperature levels of the body. It replaces fluid loss, helps with digestion of food, keeps the skin and mucous membranes moist.
Our bodies lose water constantly, through eliminating waste by urinating, respirations, perspirations and evaporation. Adequate water intake keeps the skin moist and flexible and prevents skin breaks.
Part of the normal wear and tear of the people aging is that their senses (smell, thirst and taste) are affected considerably. That can also lower decrease their appetite.
Older residents may also be having difficulty in chewing their food because of the lack of teeth. Other factors that effect their appetite is a persons mental condition (mood) and how well they can smell or taste food.
This can result in not eating well as a result and they become malnourished. This can cause a lot of problems, as they will not be able to meet the daily requirements that their body needs thus affecting the functions of the bodily systems.
When we also talk about hydration, it is important to balance it. Too little water can cause dehydration, too much can again cause edema. Edema is a condition when the excessive fluids accumulate in body tissues.
Part of the consideration that health care team must know is the resident’s food culture preferences. There are people who don’t eat pork and people who might be vegetarians so their wishes should be respected. If not forbidden by the doctor, encourage the family to bring their favorite foods. This will increase resident’s appetite. See how to properly feed the resident here!