Can A Healthy Diet Help Prevent Elders from Falling?

A diet made up of healthy foods is necessary to maintain health and well-being. It can also help reduce factors that can contribute to falls.

Some common conditions, which may lead to elders falling in a Southern California nursing home include:

  • Dehydration
  • Depression
  • Nausea and Lightheadedness
  • Fatigue

However, there is no denying that a healthy, nutrient rich diet is one of the best defenses against all kinds of illness and injuries caused by falling. A healthy diet for elders is crucial to maintain longevity and wellness as we age.

Basic Parts of a Healthy Diet

When starting a balanced diet plan, some basic rules should be followed; they are:

  • Keeping hydrated by drinking water, keeping soft drinks and juices to a minimum;
  • Limiting alcohol consumption;
  • Eating regularly, without skipping meals; and
  • Maintaining a balanced diet.

Eating With Regularity

Appetites naturally decrease with age. However, to avoid problems like fatigue and lightheadedness, which can contribute to accidental falls, it is recommended that elders eat at least three wholesome meals per day (e.g., breakfast, lunch, dinner). Should consuming three sizeable meals per day be difficult, smaller meals and supplemental healthy snacks in-between is a great way to ensure that an elder is getting proper nutrition in order to prevent weakness.

Proper Hydration

Symptoms of dehydration can cause hypotension (low-blood pressure), nausea, dizziness, and confusion – all symptoms which can contribute to an increased risk of falling.

To prevent dehydration, it is recommended that San Diegans drink 6 to 8 cups (48 to 64 ounces) of fluid per day. Although water is best, herbal teas, whole fruit juices, milk based drinks, and coffee may be incorporated.

Serving Quantities

To achieve balance, it is important to maintain proper portion control. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) “Choose My Plate” website, a balanced diet consists of the following:

  • One third vegetables and fruit;SeniorFood_web_1
  • One third natural fiber, grains or starch; and
  • One third protein sources.

Vegetables & Fruits

 

The recommended serving amount of the diet that should come from vegetables and fruits amounts to five servings per day. This can come from fresh or frozen produce, canned and/or dried. Try to eat the whole vegetable or fruit to intake the fiber in the skins don’t just have fruit juices. Some easy Superfruits are acai berries, apples, bananas, cherries, and citrus fruits. Your vegetables should be colorful and varied such as beets, collard greens, asparagus, red bell peppers or Swiss chard.

Grains, Fibers, and Starches

Grains, fiber and starch provide slow release energy. Because the energy is considered “slow release,” it provides for a fuller feeling longer. Additionally, these foods may provide relief from nauseous or lightheaded feelings between meal times if consumed as a snack.

Some examples of foods that fall in this category are:

  • Breads made of whole oats, whole wheat flour, or “double fiber”, generally a denser bread (give it a squeeze) means a better healthier bread that will sustain you longer;
  • Brown rice, quinoa, whole-wheat couscous, buckwheat or whole grain barley;
  • Starches such as sweet potatoes, parsnips and turnips;
  • Pastas such as Japanese pastas like Udon or Soba noodles, whole wheat noodles or Kamut pasta if you are sensitive to traditional wheat products this one may be a good choice for your body.

Proteins

Protein provides essential nutrients for body repair. Good sources of protein can be found in the following:

  • Dairy products like milk, eggs, cheese, and yogurt;
  • Nuts, Nut Butters, legumes such as chickpeas, black beans;
  • Tofu, tempeh, chia or other seeds like sunflower seeds; and
  • Meat, poultry, and fish.

The recommended serving amount is equivalent to two or three portions per day.

Fats & Sugars

In small quantities, fats and sugars are essential to a well-balanced diet. Although these are concentrated sources of calories that may induce weight gain, in small quantities, they provide important fat-soluble vitamins to maintain good health.

Healthy fats that contribute to good health habits are monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fat. These can be found in olive, sunflower, and corn oils. For additional information regarding oils and how they can work for you, you may click the link here, or consult your primary care physician or registered dietitian.

Alcoholic Beverage Consumption

Because alcohol naturally retards and/or impairs motor skills, elders who chose to enjoy alcohol should stay within recommended guidelines for alcohol consumption. Consumption of alcohol may also interfere with prescribed medications. Consult your pharmacist or primary care physician (PCP) to discuss whether or not alcohol will negatively interact with any prescribed medications.

Each year, countless San Diego elders sustain injury due to a fall. In some instances, falls are the result of elder or nursing home abuse. But in other instances, falls are purely accidental.

If you are concerned that a friend, family member, or loved one has been suffering from nursing home abuse or negligence, or has been injured as a result of a fall, contact an experienced California elder abuse lawyer to evaluate your case and advise you on your next steps. San Diego Elder Abuse Lawyer Christopher Walton, has built a reputation for providing compassionate and strong advocacy for victims of elder abuse and their families. Call (866) 338-7079 for a confidential consultation.