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4 Reasons for Seniors to Add Extra Protein to Their Diet

As people age, nutrition becomes more important to their wellbeing. While getting the recommended daily allowances of vitamins and minerals is essential for older adults, consuming enough protein-rich foods is also necessary for good health. Here are four reasons your senior loved one may need more protein in his or her diet.

1. Enhance Energy Levels

If your loved one’s diet is deficient in protein, he or she may not have the energy it takes to perform the normal activities of daily living. Preexisting medical conditions, a sedentary lifestyle, and medication side effects can cause weakness and fatigue. Consuming a protein-rich diet can boost energy levels and speed up a low metabolism.

Some aging adults need help to get the nutrition they need, and the amount of assistance required can vary, from occasional to around the clock. If your senior loved one needs hourly or live-in care, Anchorage Home Care Assistance can help. Our caregivers can assist with exercise and mobility, prepare nutritious meals, provide timely medication reminders, and help with a wide array of other important daily tasks.

2. Promote Wound Healing

Seniors with diabetes or who are bedridden may be predisposed to stasis ulcers or bedsores. When seniors are deficient in protein, wounds may be slow to heal. If your loved one has skin breakdown, offer healthy lean proteins such as fish, turkey, and chicken breast, or if he or she has difficulty digesting protein-rich foods, talk to the doctor about protein shakes, which can replace a meal or be consumed between meals. Avoid giving your loved one a protein shake too close to bedtime if he or she has difficulty sleeping. The energy boost may cause insomnia or restless sleep.

3. Prevent Muscle Wasting

When older adults are bedbound or have certain medical conditions, muscle wasting can develop. If muscle wasting isn’t recognized and treated, your loved one may experience debilitating pain and immobility. While increasing protein intake may not completely reverse the effects of muscle wasting, it may slow further progression. If your loved one has a renal problem, the condition may worsen if large amounts of protein are consumed. Before offering protein-rich meals, check with your loved one’s physician to make sure the extra protein won’t have a negative effect on kidney function.

If your loved one needs help adopting a nutritious diet and healthy routines, consider enlisting the help of a professional caregiver. When considering at-home care, Anchorage, AK, families should make sure their senior loved ones have the resources they need to maintain their independence and remain healthy. Trusted in-home care professionals can assist seniors with daily tasks like cooking, bathing, and exercise, and they can also encourage them to focus on healthier lifestyle habits.

4. Reduce Infection Risk

Consuming a protein-rich diet may prevent your loved one from getting bacterial, fungal, or viral infections. Adequate protein can boost immune function and keep your loved one strong so he or she can get regular exercise, which is also an immunity booster. In addition to lowering the risk for infection, a protein-rich diet can keep your loved one from becoming too weak if he or she gets sick. Protein can also promote stronger contractions of the heart muscle, enhance optimal circulation, and keep the blood healthy by promoting the production of infection-fighting white blood cells. In addition to increasing the amount of protein your loved one consumes, other interventions that may prevent infection include washing the hands frequently, consuming vitamin C–rich foods, spending time in the sunshine to enhance vitamin D production, and managing stress levels.

Some aging adults may need help choosing healthy foods with plenty of protein to stay strong in the golden years. In Anchorage, elderly home care agencies can be a great boon to seniors. With the help of the caregivers at Home Care Assistance, your aging loved one can lead a happier and healthier life. We offer a revolutionary program called the Balanced Care Method, which encourages seniors to eat nutritious foods, exercise and socialize regularly, and focus on other lifestyle factors that increase life expectancy. For reliable in-home care services, contact us at (907) 770-0907 today.