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Helping Older Adults To Eat Healthy During Pandemic
One of the first things people did to prepare themselves for the crisis was to head to the grocery store and stock up on food supplies. Besides, food is a necessity for survival. By eating well, we can lessen our risk of being ill. If we don’t eat well, our risk of diabetes, a heart condition, hypertension, and obesity increases our vulnerability to viruses like COVID-19. Without essential minerals and vitamins, our immune system might be weak. Older adults with poor nutrition are even at greater risk since the immune system gets weak as we age. Accordingly, older adults are one of the most vulnerable to experience a severe case of COVID-19. If you have an older adult family member, it is important to know what challenges to helping a loved one maintain good nutrition during a pandemic and how you can help them.
As we all know that eating healthily is very important but sometimes it can make it easier to say than doing it. The pandemic has presented some unique challenges to eating well including:
- Overeating is caused by boredom and stress that is worsened by more limited opportunities for physical activity.
- Concern about the safety of going into grocery stores for shopping and limited supplies of certain foods.
- Rising prices of certain foods that have been affected by production difficulties across the world
- Widespread financial difficulties might lead to purchasing unhealthy and cheaper foods.
- Disruption to services where adults may have previously received regular healthy meals.
How To Help Older Adults Maintain A Healthy Diet
There are actions we can take to help our loved ones with their diet through the behavior changes you do at home and the grocery store.
- Pay attention to the foods your loved one is turning to for comfort when they are bored or stressed. If they are handling their emotions with unhealthy foods, you can consult their dietician about whether you should help them through an appropriate strategy.
- Make sure that they are getting enough sleep. The pandemic has affected many people’s sleeping schedules.
- You can ask their doctor to provide a meal guideline based on their condition.
- Use minerals and vitamins to supplement areas of their nutrition that might be lacking.
At grocery store
- Purchase foods that are shown to boost the immune system. These foods may include spinach, yogurt, broccoli, citrus fruits, or ginger.
- Consider buying fruits and vegetables.
- Bring a list of ingredients that you need for a planned-meals for your loved one. This may stop them from grabbing an unhealthy item. Buying only what you need will also help you save up.
- Consider an alternate source of protein if a loved one’s diet is being affected by an increase in the price of meat.
We should not be afraid to rely on local services for help if we need to. Home-delivered meal programs and food banks exist to provide support to those who need it and maybe valuable options depending on the situation of the loved one we care for.