In 12 Senior Nutrition Myths: How to Overcome Them (1-7) we explored nutrition myths that revolve around the ideas that it is normal to lose appetite and that nutrient requirements decrease as we age. There are 3 other categories of myths that we need to address:
1.) Social Issues
2.) It’s too Late to Matter
3.) … And More
8.) Eating Alone is Okay
I was just reading a Facebook post today by a friend who is a self-describe introvert. He was traveling on a train and really did not want to go to the dining car because he would be seated with 3 other people and would have to interact with them. Much to his very pleasant surprise he had a great time. He learned a lot, enjoyed their company, and basically they restored his faith in humanity. Okay, that last part may be a bit of an exaggeration.
The bottomline is that even the most introverted of us can benefit from social interaction over a meal. Age does not change this dynamic. If anything, age enhances the benefits of eating with others. Often, as people age, they find themselves alone much more than at any other time in their life. Making the effort to join with others for meal times may seem overwhelming or just too much trouble. But, when the effort is made, tremendous benefits follow.
When we eat together we maintain, build, and deepen relationships. Our feelings of connection grow. We learn more about others in our lives including their interests and concerns. We may even learn their opinions, and if we are lucky we just might learn why they hold those opinions. Sharing meals can give us a sense of security. Just knowing that we are important enough to someone else for them to share a meal with us can be a huge boost on a day we might spend much time alone. Talking and listening shows down our eating and just may improve our digestion.
Making the efforts to eat with others just may prompt us to prepare meals filled with nutrients that if we ate alone we may skip. If you get together with others you may just need to prepare one item. That makes a rounded meal easier.
Perhaps you may consider starting a supper club with friends. The possibilities are exciting and endless. Bon Appetit.
It’s Too Late to Matter
9.) By 65 it is Too Late to Follow a Healthy Lifestyle
My dad had big, broad shoulders. He was 6’2″ and very handsome. I wasn’t born until he was almost 42, so I did not know him when he was in his 20’s or 30’s, the years we often think of as our strongest. But I did know him when he was in his 70’s. In his late 70’s he started going to a gym. He built muscles! It was great. He built his strength and endurance. It wasn’t too late for him and it isn’t too late for the rest of us. Exercise as we age isn’t the only way to improve our health as we age.
Check out this graphic about how we rebuild our bodies. Improving the way we eat, improves our body. This information certainly does inspire me. How about you?
10.) If You are not Overweight, You can Eat Anything You Want
Have you ever heard the term “skinny fat”? Metabolic syndrome can be present in people of “normal” weight. Appearances can be deceiving. Insulin resistance, which can lead to Type 2 Diabetes, high triglycerides, and high blood pressure. Healthy diets have also been shown to ward off depression, reduce cognitive decline, strengthen bones, and reduce joint and muscle pain. Excess weight is easy to see. These additional possible effects of a nutrient poor diet are concerns we may not see, but we can often feel the effects.
Still More Nutrition Myths
11.) Senior Living Communities have Bad Food
The idea that Senior Living Communities have bad food is more often than not and hold-over notion from times gone by. Before the in
creasing number of assisted living and CCRC’s (Continuing Care Retirement Communities) this may have been true. When the facilities were institutional nursing homes, the myth may have been reality. This, of course, is not to say that bad food isn’t found in Senior Living Communities, but the likelihood of finding one has greatly decreased as the competition between facilities has increased. One hint though is if you are considering moving, be sure to have a meal or two to check them out.
12.) Malnutrition Doesn’t Happen in a Developed Nation
According to Feeding America, approximately 5,000,000 seniors face hunger on a daily basis. According to the CDC, 2,000 to 3,000 elderly adults die every year from malnutrition. One example of a deficiency in Vitamin D3. According to Archives of Internal Medicine, 75% of Americans have below normal levels of Vitamin D3. So, yes, malnutrition can and does happen in a developed nation such as the United States. Please do not dismiss the reality or the seriousness of this one issue’s impact on the health of individuals and our communities as a whole. Through education about nutrient rich eating and shopping techniques to reduce the cost of food to use of food banks and other resources, malnutrition can be addresses and conquered.
You can learn more by visiting Seniors Speak Out: Get the Facts about Senior Malnutrition
These 12 Senior Nutrition Myths need to be dispelled. The first step to fixing a problem is knowing that it exists. Which of these myths did you not realize you were holding on to?