Over the past year, there have been immense focus on self-care as we continue to cope with stress (among other challenges) related to the pandemic.
Self-care is about taking proactive steps to keep yourself physically, mentally and emotionally healthy. It is not a new idea or practice – nowadays there is a greater awareness of its importance. Taking the time for self-care helps you maintain your overall health and happiness, while better coping with stress, illness, disability and many other life challenges.
A nutritious and well-balanced diet is an important practice of physical self-care. As we get older, nutrition plays an even larger role in health and well-being.
Did you know? More than 3.7 million older adults in the U.S. are malnourished. Since it’s difficult to tell whether an older adult is malnourished, simply by looking at them, the condition often goes unnoticed and undiagnosed. Malnourishment in older adults can lead to increased falls, hospital stays and comorbid health conditions.
It’s important for everyone to cultivate smart eating habits. Parents and grandparents raising grandchildren should start to introduce healthy eating habits to their children. By developing a nutrition strategy and planning meals in advance, you are more likely to consume meals with vitamins, minerals, fiber, protein and other nutrients needed.
The Nutrition Department at OCES can provide older adults with services such as nutrition education through their Healthy Living Program.
The OCES Nutrition Program enhances the quality of life for older adults by providing nutritionally sound and satisfying meals Monday through Friday through Community Dining meal sites. Older adults who are unable to attend a Community Dining site, or who are unable to prepare nutritious meals at home may benefit from receiving home-delivered meals through Meals on Wheels (MOW). Having daily meals delivered enables a homebound individual to remain independent. It provides them with a connection to the community and serves as a safety check, while also reducing loneliness.
The OCES monthly menu is planned by a registered dietitian and includes medically tailored meals with a doctor’s approval and also meals for those who have special diets.
Many older adults have reported that if not for the home-delivered meals program, there would be a food shortage in their home. Older adults attending a Community Dining meal site have reported they are able to save money on food and have an opportunity to socialize with others.
According to the Mass. Senior Nutrition Program Satisfaction Results in their 2019 Satisfaction and Outcomes report 71% of meal recipients said their home-delivered meal was their main meal of the day. Older adult meal recipients also reported that the nutritious meals helped them to feel better, maintain their weight and helped s with other medical conditions.
Good nutrition is an important aspect of self-care that helps older adults maintain independence, stay healthy and enjoy a better quality of life. For more information about OCES’ Nutrition program or for assistance, call 508-584-1561.