Nutrition and Age: A Case Study on Illinois Senior Center

Nutrition is a significant determinant in for persons over 60 years. Careful assessment in nutrition is thus essential for a good feeding plan for the elderly. This article intends to use observation method to gather information concerning food for the persons over 60 years to as well as explaining the physiology of aging, weight loss, protein under-nutrition during this age and thus give a general diet recommendation for the persons above 60 years. From healthy fats to fiber, aging bodies need certain foods to promote good health.

A healthy diet, therefore, ensures the elimination of health problems commonly experienced by seniors, for instance, blood pressure, weight loss and reduced proteins in the body. The US Department of Agriculture gives a lot attention the importance of taking in low calorie foods and doing exercises to reduce chances of chronic diseases. It gives a guide on taking whole grain foods, colorful vegetables, and low fat dairy as well as lean meat. In assessing the need for proper nutrition for the aged, this study conducted a three-day observation in the Illinois Senior Center for to establish the types of food they give to the aged during the breakfast, lunch, dinner and finally supper.

On my first visit, during breakfast, the dining table looked a social hub since the people were merrily chatting but in low tones hence forming a rather comfortable environment devoid of distractions. I went across to interview the customers and throughout the conversations with them, joy was all over their faces. The waiters were welcoming, friendly and promoted a relaxed condition ideal for eating through directing the customers to their tables. They looked polite and attentive.

The breakfast was a selection of brown rice, eggs to fill the customers with energy for the day, greens, tea, mango juice, and corn. These foods are nutritionally considered as healthy and balanced in a diet. The same diet was in line with the core guidelines of My Plate guidelines which advocate for a balanced meal which should contain the four groups of food; whole grains, proteins, healthy plant oils, vegetables and fruits. A food diet that gives proper food nutrients according to the My Plate guidelines achieves the requirements of the body for the aged. The plan advocates for a selection of high fiber bread and cereals rich in carbohydrates to reduce constipation and energy provision, colorful fruit, and protein to fill oneself with power. Vegetables and whole grains are also in the program. The Center gave foods breakfast that fitted well into the MyPyramid recommendations.

Dining is one of the activities that are highly distracted by the environment, decorations of the dining area as well as noise within the surrounding. From what I saw at the Senior Center, the arrangement of furniture was beautiful and provided an ideal atmosphere for dining. There was ample lighting system, and the place is very serene. The Center was appropriately furnished providing a friendly and pleasant surrounding with modern, decorated and clean set of seats. The floor was properly done, and the white carpets and the arrangement of chairs into small groups of four made the area very decent.

At lunchtime, I picked on Larry, one of the aged persons in the Center and asked him why he loved attending the Illinois Center for meals. “Eating with other people is as significant as adding vitamins to one’s diet. Similarly, a social environment helps in the stimulation of the mind and for that reason; I get to enjoy the meals here. Once I like the meals, I am likely to it better.”

The meals served here were lean meat, brown rice, veggie stew with whole wheat noodles and mozzarella cheese. According to David, another aged person in the Center, “I loved eating alone, but I found it better to come and eat with others. Eating with a company of people took time strategizing, but the effort has paid off. I encourage other aged people to stick to healthy eating plans like the ones I get at this Center.” The same replicated during the dinner hours whereby a wholesome meal was served. They served them with roasted veggies, brown bread, cheese, sweet potatoes and grilled meat. It fell squarely within the guidelines of My Plate concerning the serving of foods in the four groups.

However, across the Illinois center was a restaurant that played deafening music. The seniors in the Center were a bit uncomfortable during the evening hours when the people went to drink in that restaurant since the noise was unpleasantly loud. So many seniors would opt out very quickly to avoid the noise, and the implication is that it affected the ability for the seniors to enjoy their meals at this time since the older people require a serene environment. Loud music for them becomes a problem.

Nutritionally the foods consisted of a balanced diet at each meal comprising of a pack of proteins like beans, eggs, chicken, fish, nuts and lean meat which were used interchangeably. There were cereals to like for the provision of Vitamin B12. They were also served with fruits and milk as well as bananas which helped in the delivery of calcium. Remember calcium is critical. Everyone requires calcium for the protection of bone health. The seniors need to bone up on foods rich in calcium like the low-fat dairy products. A calcium supplement that is paired with vitamin D was served at this Center. Foods fortified with Vitamin B12 were served to enable the seniors to get more diet supplements since their bodies have a reduced ability to absorb B12.

Eating foods that are rich in dietary fiber helps in staying regular reduce heart disease. One should eat a variety of fruits and vegetables each day since colored fruits and veggies contain high concentrations of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Healthy eating is not about having strict limitations or depriving oneself of foods one loves but rather about feeling great, have more energy and stabilizing the mood.

While the Center enjoys an excellent relationship with the seniors, they should come up with a fitness center to help the seniors have some aerobics to keep fit. They should share the love by joining them in the fitness keeping activities. These help the old to relax their mind. Above all, I also recommend that the Illinois Senior Center should have trip events with the staff and the seniors to have some fun.