Elderly couple drinking water

As we age, our nutritional needs change. By adapting, you help your body stay healthy and fight off diseases. Whether you yourself is facing this issue, or you're helping to care for an elderly relative, it's important to understand the vitamins, minerals and nutrients that seniors require. In some cases, older individuals need additional vitamins, while in other cases, they need to cut back on certain foods. Here's a look at the dietary needs of seniors. 


It's essential that we increase our calcium intake as we age, just as it's essential for children to get more calcium as they grow. Our bone system becomes more brittle over time, and the risk of serious injuries increases. Without the necessary intake of calcium, you run an increased risk of arthritis and osteoporosis. While it's recommended that individuals over the age of 55 get at least 1200 milligrams of calcium each day, it's also important where they get their calcium. Diversity is important, so you shouldn't only be relying on dairy products for calcium. You can also reach your daily requirement through leafy greens, soy, supplements, and many other foods and beverages. 

Omega 3 fatty acids

Your body requires these fats to function, but it doesn't produce them internally. So, it's vital that all of us get plenty of Omega 3s for a number of health benefits, including lowering your risk for arthritis, depression, Alzheimer's and dementia. Omega 3s are most commonly found in various types of fish, and as we age, it's important that we consume at least 3 servings of fish each week. Additionally, walnuts, flaxseed oil, and canola oil can supplement additional Omega 3s. 


There are a number of foods that are high in sodium, namely pre-packaged and processed foods. Sodium is also directly related to hypertension, and a number of other heart diseases. Because seniors already have an increased risk for these issues, it's important to decrease the amount of sodium in their diet before problems start. Of course, if an individual already has high blood pressure, sodium levels should be decreased regardless of their age. 


It may seem like a simple thing to stay hydrated, but many seniors experience serious health problems related to dehydration. As we age, our hydration requirements don't necessarily change much from when we're younger, but the potential risks involved with dehydration grow. Additionally, hydration isn't much of a concern for many, so it's easy to fail to make drinking water a priority. In addition to water, other liquids like soups, juices and teas, can help with hydration. Signs of dehydration in seniors to watch for include dizziness, headaches, rapid heart rate and confusion. When these symptoms appear, it's likely that serious dehydration has already occurred, which could require the use of an IV to regain fluids. 

If you're caring for an elderly relative, it's important for you to help them make care plans for the future. Contact us at Cura-HPC for answers to your questions about hospice and palliative care.