Improving Seniors’ Lives Through Food!

Posted on

Nov 01, 2019

As we grow older, good nutrition is still essential, but may become more of a challenge for aging adults. Getting to the grocery store alone can become an obstacle; as well as, having the mobility and endurance to actually prepare nutritious meals on a daily basis.
Although some delivery services like Meals on Wheels can be convenient, they are not customized to the individuals preferences nor do they provide companionship.
Boxed meal delivery services still need to be prepared, theyre not highly customized, and can be expensive. Some home care services provide meal prep, but the care provider probably is not a trained Chef.
Chefs for Seniors provide personalized meals prepared in the home by a professional Chef. Meals are customized to individual tastes and dietary needs.
It is our mission to change the life of Seniors, one delicious meal at a time!
Editiors Note: This article was submitted by Lauren Foster, Proprietor/ Chef with Chefs for Seniors Northern Colorado. Contact at 720-726-1953 or lauren.foster@chefsforseniors.com

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5 Best Superfoods for Older Adults

You are what you eat. While this idea might be overblown, its not a baseless claim. Good health has a lot to do with your diet. A healthy, well-balanced diet boots and maintains health, even when other factors like genetics emerge. And as you age, the foundation of a nutritious, beneficial diet is even more critical as chronic illnesses become more likely.Additionally, a nutritious diet can help offset natural decline, helping you to maintain strength, cognitive function, and bone mass. You can give yourself an edge when you choose nutrient-dense foods that boost areas of health more efficiently. You can only eat so many calories in a day, so making each one count can tremendously impact your physical well-being.Here, youll find a list of superfoods, their benefits, and what foods contain them.What Are Superfoods?Science doesnt define superfoods or categorize food based on this concept. However, nutrition experts use this term to distinguish foods that are more nutrient dense than others and are therefore more beneficial to health. In other words, these foods pack the most punch in terms of nutrition.They are functional foods that contain more nutrients than other foods. Functional foods are essentially foods that have meaningful nutritional value. For example, an apple is a functional food, but potato chips arent. Superfoods are considered the stars of functional foods.Why Should Seniors Eat More Superfoods?As a senior adult, your body is in another season of change as your various systems shift into decline. You need fewer calories and are more prone to disease and decreased function. This means you have fewer calories available to deliver nutrition to your body. Rather than eating 1,500 calories of nutrient-poor foods, you should focus on eating the same amount of calories in the form of nutrient-rich foods. This can help sustain and boost your health as you face the challenges of aging.Why do older adults need fewer calories?Aging affects your digestive system, slowing motility, which means food passes through your system more slowly. Your body also digests and absorbs nutrients less efficiently. This means that its best not to overload your system with food and calories, and the nutrients you consume arent absorbed into your system as effectively as they once were. You must eat more nutrients to compensate for the lack of efficient absorption and distribution.The loss of muscle mass as you age means youre naturally burning fewer calories. This combined with other changes that make older adults less active than in previous years means that overall calorie needs are lower. And yet, your nutritional needs increase. This is where superfoods serve an important purpose for senior adults.1. Green, Leafy Vegetables Are a SuperfoodGreen leafy veggies are packed with antioxidants that remove free radicals from your body. These unstable molecules build up in your cells and damage the cells around them. This process is known to cause many diseases associated with aging like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.You can lower your risk of developing these diseases when you minimize free radicals. Superfoods such as leafy greens fight to rid these foes from your body and are a great ally in the fight against unhealthy aging and disease.Leafy greens are also high in vitamin K, which helps protect you from osteoporosis and blood clots. Other notable nutrients packed inside this superfood include folate, magnesium, and potassium.According to The Dietary Guidelines for Americans, seniors should eat 2.5 cups of vegetables and 2 cups of fruit daily. Several days per week, including dark, leafy greens like these into your diet:ArugulaBok choyChardCollard greensKaleSpinachSwiss chardWatercress2. Certain Berries Are a SuperfoodAll berries contain high amounts of antioxidants but some excel in this area. Examples of superfood berries include:BlueberriesCranberriesGoji berriesStrawberriesBlackberriesRaspberriesWhile all are legitimate superfoods with incredible antioxidant benefits, blueberries steal the show. Their specific nutrient profile indicates that they also help fight cognitive decline and age-related memory loss.Just be sure to eat your berries fresh or frozen rather than with lots of added sugar. Otherwise, youre working against yourself as the sugar promotes all the health negatives youre trying to address with superfoods.Try to eat a half cup of blueberries, or the berry of your choice, daily.3. Salmon and Fatty Fish Are a SuperfoodSalmon is a fatty fish that is high in omega-3 fatty acids that help lower your risk for heart disease. But its also high in protein, which is necessary for maintaining muscle mass and strength as you age. Protein is a macronutrient thats processed less efficiently with age. So, its important to eat protein-rich foods to ensure you meet your daily needs. To learn more, read our article, 10 Protein Myths to Leave Behind for Good.This combination of omega-3 fatty acids and protein make salmon and similar fatty fish a type of superfood that boosts health as you age. But its also packed with selenium, vitamin D, and other important vitamins.An easy salmon recipe includes baking it on a sheet pan with potatoes and asparagus. Season as desired and cook at 400 degrees. Bake the potatoes first for about 10 minutes before adding the salmon and asparagus, baking for another 15 minutes.4. Eggs Are a SuperfoodFeeling confused about the benefits of eggs? For a while, there was a wide-reaching campaign against the now revered food. It claimed that eggs raised cholesterol significantly and should be avoided. This led to people eating egg whites only to avoid artery-clogging consequences. But is that necessary?According to Harvard Medical School, all the panic about eggs isnt necessary. Large, reputable studies have found that most of the cholesterol in our bodies is produced by our liver when we consume saturated and trans fats. What we most want to minimize is saturated fats and not dietary cholesterol. The conclusion is that an egg a day, provided its not paired with foods high in saturated fat, wont negatively affect your blood cholesterol.You could potentially have more than one per day, but if you want to play it safe, there is little reason to think an egg each day would harm your health.But dont skip the yoke! This is where all the nutrients reside. These key nutrients include high doses of selenium, which help you fight free radicals and infection. Eggs also contain vitamin D, B12, and choline, which regulates mood and memory. And all these benefits with only 1.6 grams of saturated fat per large egg!5. Plain Greek Yogurt Is a SuperfoodNotice it is plain Greek yogurt that is most beneficial. When you buy it with added sugar, youre subtracting much from its benefits as the sugar negates some of the positive effects on gut health (probiotics) and promotes the age-related disease youre trying to prevent by eating the superfood.You can add some natural sweetness to your plain yogurt by adding another superfood such as berries. You can also try adding a small amount of natural sweetener like Stevia or Monk fruit to make it more enjoyable.Greek yogurt is higher in protein than regular yogurt, and its a healthy way to consume lean protein thats low in saturated fat. Its also high in calcium, which is a huge benefit to senior adults who are trying to maintain bone mass and prevent osteoporosis.Greek yogurt is also known as a key source for probiotics, which keep your digestive tract (gut) healthy. Your gut health can have a major impact on whole-body wellness. You can learn more from our article, How Gut Health Dramatically Impacts Your Life (and Tips for Keeping It Balanced).If youre lactose sensitive, you may still be able to enjoy the health benefits of plain Greek yogurt. Greek yogurt contains less milk-sugar lactose than other dairy products. And the good bacteria found in the probiotics consume much of the lactose present. You may find your system is more tolerant of Greek yogurt.A good rule of thumb is to have about 6-8 ounces of plain Greek yogurt per day. If cholesterol is a concern, opt for nonfat, plain Greek yogurt to minimize saturated fat.Focus Your Diet on SuperfoodsIf you want to live out your golden years with maximum health and be proactive, consider planning your meals and grocery store trips around key superfoods. Choose several per week to be your focus until you discover which ones are most enjoyable and easier to implement as part of your routine diet.With a little forethought and planning, you can lay a foundation of nutrition that helps maintain the health you have, help you manage existing health conditions, or even prevent the onset of disease.A great way to start your day is a superfood-rich breakfast smoothie. Try blending a cup of plain Greek yogurt, a half-cup of berries, a handful of kale or spinach. For added sweetness, you can include a splash of fruit juice or a tablespoon of Stevia or Monk Fruit. 

Mental Wellness Support During the Golden Years

As we age, we face significant life changes that can impact our mental wellness.Retirement, illnesses, or deaths of loved ones, changes to our physical health or mobility, isolation, and even some medications can impact the way we feel, sleep, eat, and interact with the world around us. Adults over 60 sometimes believe that depression and anxiety are a normal part of aging. Because of this, signs and symptoms of depression and anxiety can be misinterpreted in our golden years.North Range's senior peer counselors are 55 years old or older and trained to provide supportive counseling services to clients in the privacy of their homes or apartments, assisted living facilities, or nursing home facilities. We provide encouragement and support to help with coping through life stressors and emotional challenges.Take this Mental Wellness Check-In for the Golden YearsI feel sad or blue often.I get nervous and anxious often.I get easily overwhelmed.It's hard to make decisionsbig or small.I worry a lot.I often feel jumpyit's hard for me to feel settled.I feel lonely and alone.I have trouble sleeping.My appetite has changed/decreased.I feel tired often.I have little energy, motivation, or ambition.It's hard to find enjoyment or pleasure in things.I wish I had someone to talk with about my life, feelings, thoughts, and situation.Our golden years are not supposed to feel like this. These are not simply normal signs of the aging process and of "just getting older."North Range Behavioral Health's confidential, private Senior Peer Counseling Program may be able to help, at no cost to you.Established in 1976, The Senior Peer Counseling Program has consistently provided outreach and supportive paraprofessional counseling services to Weld County seniors 60 years and older. Our peer counselors are 55 years old or older and trained to provide supportive counseling services to clients in the privacy of their homes or apartments, assisted living facilities, or nursing home facilities. We provide encouragement and support to help with coping through life stressors and emotional challenges.All peer counselors work under a Licensed Professional Counselor with a focus in Gerontology. Senior Peer Counselors have a variety of education, knowledge, experience, talents, and skills in working with other older adults. In fact, peer counselors and clients may have similar lived experiences related to the aging process. We have found this is one of the many reasons why our program has been so helpful to people over the years."This program is amazingyou have been with me through so much. I trust you and I know you stand by me." Senior Peer Counseling ClientThe Senior Peer Counseling program is supported in part by The Area Agency on Aging (AAA.) This means there is no cost for working with a peer counselor. Although some participants choose to make a donation to the program if they can.Find out more about North Range Behavioral Health's Senior Peer Counseling Program or arrange for one of the peer counselors to visit with you or a loved one today!Call Dee McClure, Program Coordinator, Community Based and Peer Counseling, at 970.347.2125

The Eight Dimensions of Wellness

Wellness incorporates many dimensions of health, each of which contribute to a persons overall wellbeing. Because wellness has a personal meaning for everyone, the path toward wellness is different for each person.The good news is that its never too early or too late to adopt healthy habits. SAMHSAs (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) Eight Dimensions of Wellness breaks wellness into eight categories emotional, environmental, financial, intellectual, occupational, physical, social, and spiritual to achieve an improved quality of life.Embracing the Eight Dimensions of Wellness can help us:Be more able to help others/get work doneBounce back from stress, trauma, and burnoutSleep better, improve focus, and strengthen relationshipsEvery day is a new opportunity to commit to mental wellbeing. Consider integrating these healthy habits from the Eight Dimensions of Wellness into your routine.EMOTIONAL WELLNESSHaving the ability to cope with life stress, express emotions, and feel positive about life. It includes being aware and accepting our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors by managing them in a healthy way.Tell someone you appreciate themBe truly present when you are around loved onesPut the phones awayPractice gratitude and self-compassionDo what helps you relax and rechargeAsk for help when you need it. It's a sign of strength to reach out to resources and supports when your mental wellness is suffering.SPIRITUAL WELLNESSConnecting to personal beliefs and values that provide a sense of meaning and purpose in life.It is important to know that spiritual wellness does not mean religious practice, although religion can be one route to increase your spiritual wellness.Find activities or routines that help you appreciate lifeConnect with something larger than yourselfPractice meditationJoin a faith-based communitySpend time in natureIncrease self-reflectionSet an intention for your day. Pick a mantra that you can return to throughout your day to remind yourself of your purpose. Some examples are: I am worthy of love and happiness. I am walking into today with bravery. or I am exactly where I am supposed to be.INTELLECTUAL WELLNESSEngaging in creative and stimulating activities can help us discover our own potential and understand diverse points of view.Do things that help to strengthen your concentration, memory, and critical thinking skills.Try something new or take up a new hobbyChallenge yourself to be curious and open-mindedListen to and consider the perspectives of othersTravel more to increase your knowledge and appreciation for another cultureDo something to build self-confidence. Take up a new hobby such as knitting, baking, or painting. It doesn't matter whether you are good at it, it only matters that you are doing something new!PHYSICAL WELLNESSDeveloping healthy habits around nutrition, sleep, exercise, appropriate health care, stress reduction, and overall physical health.Learn to listen to your bodyGet a great nights sleep (Strive for eight hours of sleep a night)Engage in physical activity every day for 30 minutes Eat a variety of healthy foodRecognize the signs when your body begins feeling ill or tense, and take actions to take care of your body.ENVIRONMENTAL WELLNESSFinding physical and emotional safety in our surroundings (where we work, live, and learn.)A clean, safe home helps us feel at peace in our environmentPlant a personal or community gardenTake a walk outsideDecorate your workspace with things that bring you joyAppreciate your surroundings. Everyday activities like driving with the windows down on a sunny day can help you appreciate your environment more.FINANCIAL WELLNESSFinding the balance between the psychological, physical, and spiritual aspects of our relationships with finance.Learn more about things related to savings, income, and debtLearn how to set long-term goals toward future financial objectivesLearn how to saveReorganize your belongings and utilize what you have currently, rather than buying something newStrive to live within your means. Track your expenses, create a financial budget, make weekly meal plans to maintain your budget goals.OCCUPATIONAL WELLNESSExploring activities that align with our personal goals, belief systems, lifestyle, and values.Build relationships with colleaguesEngage in training opportunitiesVolunteerMake a list of what you have accomplished - if youre feeling burnt out at work, look over what you have accomplished in the past to give yourself a new sense of purposeBalance work and leisure timeManage workplace stress with this after-work checklist:Review: acknowledge a challenge you faced, take a deep breath and let it goReflect: however small, consider and appreciate positives in your dayRegroup: offer support to your colleagues and ask for help when you need itRe-energize: turn your attention to home and focus on relaxing and restingSOCIAL WELLNESSPositive, healthy, and meaningful relationships with friends, family, and the community.Learn about healthy communication skills that respect yourself and othersShow genuine concern for those in needConnect with supportive friends and familySet healthy boundaries with people in your lifeJoin a club or a group with similar interests. By surrounding yourself with people with similar interests, you establish a strong foundation for a sense of community.Taking care of yourself first will have a positive impact on the loved ones in your life and will make you better equipped to listen to and support your family and friends.Three easy ways to integrate some of the dimensions this week:Cook a new recipe or a comfort dish with your familySpend 10 minutes at the beginning or end of your day stretchingSet an intention for your dayDaily intentions:I will spend this weekend relaxing and recharging.I will find a small joy in each activity I do.I will nourish my body and soul this weekend.I am strong and I am loved.When it comes to wellness, doing just a little bit is better than doing nothing at all. Questions or for more information please call North Range Behavioral Health at 970-347-2120.