We have to accept that as our parents grow old, they prove to be more difficult to handle but that doesn’t mean we have to give up on them by sending them to nursing homes. We should not give up on them like they did not give up on us. It is time that we return the love and care they generously provided us.
The first step is determining what they should eat. We want them to live healthy and longer. If we let them eat whatever they want, there is a tendency that it might do harm than good. We have to convince (and eventually instil) in our parent’s minds that good nutrition is part of their retirement lifestyle. We have to know that elders have the highest risk for malnutrition.
Malnutrition is a condition where our body does not have enough nutrients to function properly. The risk of getting malnutrition increases as we age. There are elders who suffer loss of taste which can affect their food intake. It is therefore our role to make sure that our parents get the nutrition they need to still enjoy life and their grandchildren.
Here are some foods that we need to prepare or secure for our parents:
- Foods rich in Omega 3 fatty acids: Omega 3 fatty acids prove to be helpful because it can reduce inflammation. Inflammation can cause heart diseases, arthritis or worse, cancer. Omega 3 fatty acids are found in walnuts, fishes (particularly tuna), canola oil and flaxseeds.
- Foods rich in calcium: Our elders need all the calcium they can get to be strong. Calcium can preserve bone health and it can also lower blood pressure. Good sources of calcium include dairy milk, orange juice, turnip greens and kale.
- Foods with low sodium content: If our parents have high blood pressure, the best thing that we can do is reduce their intake of sodium. In this case, we have to prepare foods that are low in sodium content. We can prepare fresh and frozen vegetables and fruits, nut, butters, oats and the like.
- Water: If we notice that our parents do not drink water often, we have to make sure that they stay hydrated. We have to give them a glass or two. This will make them hydrated.
Fortunately, these foods are available here in Singapore. We only need to persevere whenever we are grocery shopping. If we cannot meet the daily recommended amount of nutrients our elders need, we can ask our doctors for supplements. Most importantly, they have to exercise.