The older she gets, the more your mom seems to rely on quick meals. She doesn’t often cook for herself. She says it’s too hard to cook dinner for one, so she’d rather eat a frozen dinner or can of soup.
While it’s easier, studies find that a poor diet can increase your mom’s risk of hospitalization. Find out why diet can help your mom avoid trips to the hospital.
Low Calcium and Vitamin D Intake Impacts Bone Density
When your mom doesn’t eat calcium-rich foods, her bones may thin. Thinner bones break more easily. So if she slips on ice or trips over something in the dark, a fall could lead to a bad fracture of an arm, leg, or hip.
She needs to get 1,200 milligrams of calcium each day. That’s approximately four glasses of skim milk each day. It’s also the equivalent of a six-ounce serving of plain yogurt, a glass of skim milk, three ounces of canned sardines, and two cups of cooked kale. Does she eat that much?
Low Intake of Antioxidants
Antioxidants help the body fight infections and handle the free radicals that are naturally in the atmosphere. Air pollution, secondhand smoke, and other environmental factors impact your health. If your mom gets a cut or picks up a cold or another virus, she needs her immune response to kick in.
When she suffers from malnutrition, the immune response may not be as effective. As a result, she can end up in the hospital because her wound isn’t healing quickly, and her body isn’t fighting the infection well.
Increased Diabetes Risk
A diet that’s high in saturated fat, added sugar, and highly processed carbs increase the risk of diabetes. If your mom eats many baked goods like cookies and doughnuts, white rice, and white bread, she raises her risk. Items like soda, processed deli meats, and canned soups and pasta can also be poor nutritional choices.
If she has diabetes and doesn’t realize it, she risks a trip to the hospital when her blood sugar levels get too high or too low. It’s especially concerning if she isn’t keeping up with yearly doctor’s appointments and hasn’t had a blood test to check for signs of pre-diabetes or diabetes.
Make sure your mom is taking care of herself. If she struggles with routines like meal preparation, personal care, or remembering to take her medications, it’s time to arrange the help she needs. Elder care services are a great solution.
She has elder care aides stopping by as often as needed. Caregivers can help her with grocery shopping and meal preparation. In addition, they can help her with housework and laundry. Talk to an elder care representative to get answers to any questions you may have.