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Seniors and Nutrition

Good nutrition contributes to a greater quality of life for seniors

More than 1 in 3 seniors in the care of others is at risk for under- or mal-nutrition (Mayo Clinic/American Dietetic Association). Malnutrition is the lack of proper nutrition, not necessarily a lack of food. Detecting malnutrition in seniors may be difficult, and even seniors who eat enough may be eating the wrong foods to keep themselves healthy. At Comfort Keepers® Canada, we help seniors live healthy, independent lives and promote senior nutrition.

As seniors age and change, so do their nutritional needs. Making sure those needs are met makes a real difference in their quality of life. Caregivers or family members should be aware of the signs and symptoms of hunger or malnutrition in older adults, which include the following:

  • Watch for physical problems, such as poor wound healing, easy bruising and dental difficulties.
  • Keep track of weight loss, which may require purchasing a home scale or transporting the older adult to the doctor’s office for weight checks when the individual is unable to stand without assistance.
  • Pay close attention to seniors’ eating habits and ask them to tell you where and when they eat, but don’t rely on self-reports a lone. Since our caregivers, the people we call Comfort Keepers®, often spend mealtimes with seniors at home, they may have a better idea of normal eating habits.
  • Suggest family members visit during mealtimes, which can improve a senior’s consumption. If a senior lives alone, make sure you know who is buying his or her food.
  • Know what medications an older loved one takes and whether they can affect appetite and digestion. Use the resources available through your local retail pharmacist to check for drug nutrient interactions or possible side effects of prescribed medications.
  • If there are medical questions regarding nutrition, medication, and health, Comfort Keepers suggests seniors, their family members, and other caregivers speak with doctors about tests that can help identify chronic malnutrition or other nutrition-related problems.

Featured Articles on Seniors and Nutrition:


It is estimated that 5-10% of the elderly population is faced with food allergies – but that the prevalence is underestimated and undertreated in seniors. Reactions from a food allergy can be very serious, and contact with even trace amounts of offensive foods can be life-threatening.

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Studies indicate that Irritable Bowel Syndrome may affect up to 20% of the population, and that 10% of elderly people are affected. Learn what causes IBS in seniors and steps you can take to help your elder loved one manage their IBS symptoms.

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Important senior nutrition information and foods that promote heart health in Canada’s seniors. The American Heart Association estimates that 66% of cardiovascular disease deaths occur in people age 75 and older, so senior heart health should be a focus for senior caregivers!

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Both the characteristics of obesity and the way it affects seniors can be different when compared to how obesity impacts younger adults. This is very important to know, as it may determine if and how obesity should be analyzed and treated in seniors.

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A total of about 4 million (1 in 8) Canadians are affected by a food-borne illness. Of these, there are about: 11,600 hospitalizations and 238 deaths. Canada’s seniors need to be aware of the risks of foodborne illnesses, understand these infection warning signs, and take these steps for preventing senior infection from foodborne illness.

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