March is National Nutrition Month and we have previously covered the differences in nutritional needs as we age and tips for good senior nutrition. Another important consideration in good elderly nutrition is how a person’s health status, diagnoses, medications and activity level affect his or her nutritional needs. If you suffer from chronic health conditions, have had recent weight gain or loss, are recovering from surgery (or preparing to have surgery) or have just come out of the hospital, you should talk to your doctor about your diet, and possibly ask for a referral to a nutritionist or dietitian.
Some important questions to ask about your nutritional needs as you recuperate:
- What dietary restrictions should I heed? (Low salt, low fat, sugar, ingredients contraindicated by medications such as blood thinners)
- What supplements do I need and how do my supplements affect my medications/diet? (Make sure to share all supplements and natural remedies that you take with your doctor and nutritionist.)
- What nutrients and caloric intake are appropriate for me? (For example, do I need extra protein or more calories as my body handles surgery and recovery or while I am doing rehabilitation? Do I have wounds and how does this affect my needs?)
- Will my medications affect my appetite? Do medications need to be taken with food, water, before/after meals? What are medication side effects (especially related to nutrition, do any cause upset stomach or do I have tendency to get stomach sensitivity)?
- Are there any special instructions in preparing for surgery or treatments (i.e. no food or drink 12-24 hours in advance, certain foods to avoid, preparations)?
Make sure your home caregivers and family caregivers know about your dietary restrictions and instructions. EasyLiving’s home caregivers can help you prepare meals according to doctors’ orders and designed to assist you in a faster recovery. Contact us today for more information on how our home caregivers can help you to a speedy recovery!