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Posts Tagged “nutrition”

3 Superfoods for Seniors to Include on The Thanksgiving Table This Year

Superfoods for Seniors

A diet that includes superfoods provides health and nutritional benefits for seniors.

Thanksgiving dinner is typically full of rich, high-fat foods that can be unhealthy if eaten frequently in large quantities. So, while it’s okay to eat traditional Thanksgiving foods such as mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing and pumpkin pie in moderation, it’s also a great time to try incorporating some “superfoods” into your holiday dinner, and throughout the rest of the year.

Superfoods are foods that are primarily plant-based, but also include some fish and dairy. Because they are nutritionally dense, with high levels of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, enzymes and healthy fats, they have been shown to be beneficial for one’s health, helping fuel the body so that it can fight against chronic diseases and other nutrient deficiencies.

Recent long-term research studies have shown that there are several nutrients that should be regularly included in the diet of older adults who are at risk for heart disease, stroke, or Alzheimer’s disease. These superfoods for seniors are nutritional powerhouses that provide a variety of long-term benefits, and include:

  1. Salmon and other fatty fish. Cold water fish such as salmon, sardines, tuna and mackerel, are high in protein and low in saturated fat and calories. With high levels of omega-3 essential fatty acid (DHA), which optimizes triglyceride levels that carry fat in a person’s blood stream, salmon (and other fatty fish) helps to reduce the low density LDL (bad) cholesterol, while improving the high HDL (good) cholesterol that fights deposits in the arteries. An additional benefit: there is strong evidence linking DHA to helping prevent memory loss and other symptoms of dementia.
  2. Walnuts, almonds and other nuts. Research has shown that eating one ounce daily of nuts like walnuts, almonds, pecans, pistachios, peanuts, or hazelnuts may reduce the risk of heart disease. Just one handful of almonds each day provides the recommended dose of omega-3 fatty acids and 35% of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin E. A study featured in the Journal of the American Medical Association has shown that vitamin E may help protect people from Alzheimer’s disease. The only downside to nuts is that they are high in calories and oftentimes, salt. To help ensure a proper proportion, purchase nuts in their shells, as cracking open the nuts takes time, and slows down the eating process.
  3. Carrots. According to researchers, people who have diets rich in vitamin A and other anti-oxidants over several years have reduced incidents of Alzheimer’s disease. Another study links diets rich in vitamins C and E, beta-carotene and zinc to a reduction of diminished eyesight in older adults. The human body converts beta-carotene to vitamin A, making carrots a healthy choice that provides many benefits. In fact, just one 7.5-inch carrot provides 230% of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin A. To make carrots softer and easier to chew without losing valuable nutrients, try microwaving or lightly steaming them.

This Thanksgiving, why not try a new recipe such as this salmon and carrot dinner that uses superfoods as the primary ingredients. Or, try searching online for recipes that incorporate other superfoods for seniors such as: dark leafy greens, berries, green tea, legumes, olive oil and a variety of others. Including these as part of a senior’s diet can provide long-term health benefits, especially when combined with a regular program of physician-approved exercise.

At Nightingale Home Care, our caregivers love working with seniors to keep them healthy, active and engaged. We can help plan and prepare nutritious meals and snacks that incorporate superfoods for seniors, provide companionship and motivation for regular exercise, as well as a variety of other tasks to ensure the senior you love is living life to the fullest.

Reach out to us today at (602) 504-1555 to schedule a free in-home consultation and to learn more about our top-rated home care in Glendale, AZ and the surrounding areas.

Take a Closer Look at How Eating Habits Change with Age

Phoenix AZ home care

Eating habits change for a number of reasons as we grow older.

We all know how important it is to establish and maintain healthy eating habits, but sadly, a full 25% of older adults suffer from malnutrition, according to the National Resource Center on Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Aging. Whether the problem is eating too little, too much, or the wrong types of foods, poor nutrition for seniors can result in weakened bones and muscles, an increased risk of serious health concerns like diabetes, and more.

The reasons for these nutritional struggles are as varied as the individuals experiencing them. For some, medication side effects impact appetite. For others, dental problems make chewing difficult. And for many, the loss of a spouse results in a lost desire to prepare healthy meals for just herself.

At Nightingale Homecare, our Phoenix in home care specialists offer the following suggestions to help your senior loved ones maintain optimal health by ensuring his or her nutritional needs are met:

  • Fiber up! Consuming plenty of foods high in soluble fiber will help keep cholesterol in check and prevent constipation and other health problems. Older adults should strive to include at least one of the following types of foods with each meal:
    • Beans or lentils
    • Whole grains, oats or oat bran
    • Seeds or nuts
    • Fruits and vegetables
  • Convenience doesn’t have to mean fast food! For seniors who prefer the convenience of ready-made foods, there are a number of healthy options to consider over fast food or prepackaged foods that are high in salt, sugar, and fat, such as:
    • Bags of fresh chopped veggies for salad, coleslaw, or steaming
    • Instant oatmeal
    • Fully cooked rotisserie or grilled chicken or turkey
    • Canned or frozen low-sodium/low-sugar fruits and vegetables
    • Low-sodium cans of soup or stew
  • Find a friend! Preparing meals (and eating them) in isolation transforms mealtimes from something enjoyable to something to dread. Share as many meals with your loved one as possible, and seek out other companions for your loved one – neighbors, other family members, friends from religious organizations, etc.

At Nightingale Homecare, we can help implement all of these ideas, and more. Whether the need is for shopping for healthy, convenient foods, preparing nutritious meals, or providing friendly companionship during mealtime, partner with the Phoenix in home care team at Nightingale Homecare and ensure that your senior loved one stays as healthy and happy as possible! Take the first step by calling us at (602) 504-1555 to request a free in-home consultation and discover the difference our professional in-home care services can make in your senior loved one’s life.

Love Your Heart? Feed It Well!

Senior Heart HealthAge and decreased activity can increase seniors’ risk for heart disease, but there are simple steps to take, such as improved nutrition, that can make a world of difference. Eating a diet that helps prevent heart disease is easier than you think. These simple strategies, courtesy of the Surprise home health care team at Nightingale Homecare, will have your senior loved one well on the way to a heart-healthy diet.

  • Choose fats wisely. We’re all aware of the need to cut back on fats that are dangerous to our health, such as trans fats, but there are actually healthy alternatives that we should all include in our diet. Omega-3 fatty acids (those found in avocados, olive and canola oil, nuts and fish), consumed in small amounts, are the best choice.
  • Eat your veggies. And fruits, too! The recommendation is two servings of fruit, especially those with dark-colored skin, and between three and five veggies, particularly non-starchy options such as broccoli, asparagus, tomatoes, carrots, and dark, leafy greens.
  • Think natural. Processed foods are typically heavy on salt content, along with other unhealthy additives. Choosing foods in their natural state helps prevent an overconsumption of salt, which is typically anything over 2,300 mg per day (or 1,500 mg per day for those at increased risk of heart disease).
  • Go lean with protein. Saturated fats found in red meat and many dairy products clog arteries. Better choices for protein include fish, skinless chicken, soy, nuts, and beans.
  • Fiber up! Soluble fiber provides the heart-healthy benefit of lowering LDL and triglycerides. Beans, oat bran and steel-cut oats, barley, and a variety of fruits and vegetables are great options.

If you’d like more tips and resources on improving heart health for a senior loved one, contact the Surprise home health care professionals at Nightingale Homecare. We’re also available to provide experienced hands-on care, in the comfort of your home, to improve overall health and wellbeing, through services such as:

  • Managing chronic disease
  • Planning and preparing nutritious meals
  • Providing transportation and accompaniment to medical appointments and other outings
  • Assisting with personal care and hygiene needs
  • Running errands, such as picking up groceries and prescriptions
  • Taking care of light housework, laundry, pets and more around the home
  • A full range of skilled medical services provided by our registered nurses – and much more

Whether your loved one could benefit from just a few hours each week of assistance, or if more in-depth care is needed up to 24 hours each day, we’re on hand to help. Contact us for a free in-home assessment at (602) 504-1555 to learn more.

Enjoy a Cornucopia of Healthy Meals This Thanksgiving!

healthy mealsIt’s that wonderful time of year once again when tables are laden with all of those delicious traditions: turkey with all the trimmings, sweet potato casserole, pumpkin pie. But for older adults with special dietary requirements, it can be hard to stick to a prescribed eating plan while enjoying the holiday festivities.

If you’re cooking for loved ones with special dietary needs, try some of these healthy recipes that the whole family can enjoy, courtesy of the Arizona home health care team at Nightingale Homecare:

Pumpkin Soup

  • ¾ cup water
  • 1 small chopped onion
  • 1 15-oz. can pureed pumpkin
  • 2 cups vegetable broth, unsalted
  • ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup fat-free milk
  • Black pepper
  • 1 chopped green onion

Heat ¼ of the water in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add chopped onion and cook about 3 minutes, until tender. Add the rest of the water, pumpkin, broth, cinnamon and nutmeg. Simmer for 5 minutes, and then add the milk and cook through (do not boil) until hot. Serve topped with green onion and black pepper.

Balsamic Roasted Turkey

  • 1 whole turkey
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 4 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 3 – 4 garlic cloves
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup defatted pan drippings
  • 3 tbsp. brown sugar

Rub turkey with oil, a sprig of rosemary, and the garlic cloves. Place remaining rosemary and garlic in the turkey’s cavity and roast until done. While turkey is resting, deglaze the pan with ½ cup of water and separate out fit with a gravy separator. Warm together 1 cup of defatted pan drippings with brown sugar and vinegar, and drizzle over sliced turkey.

Cranberry Stuffing

  • 1 cup chicken broth (low sodium)
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley
  • 1 tsp. dried tarragon
  • ½ tsp. paprika
  • 18 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • ½ cup chopped cranberries
  • 1 cup water chestnuts
  • 1 cup chopped apple
  • 10 slices toasted whole wheat bread, cut into cubes

Cook celery and onion in chicken broth in large skillet about 5 minutes and remove from heat. Combine remaining ingredients in a large bowl and add in onion/celery/broth mixture. Cover with foil and bake in 2-quart baking dish for 20 minutes, and then uncover and bake an additional 10 minutes.

For more holiday meal tips for seniors, contact the Arizona home health care experts at Nightingale Homecare. We love helping older adults throughout the Phoenix area remain healthy – during the holidays, and throughout the year. We’re available to plan and prepare nutritious meals, provide friendly companionship to brighten each day, assist with personal care needs as well as medical needs met by a registered nurse, and so much more. Call us at (602) 504-1555 to let us know how we can help your senior loved one!

Healthy Summer Recipes You Can Prepare in a Snap for Seniors

Arizona Home Care AgencyIf you are caring for an elder loved one, nutrition is likely one of your biggest concerns. There are many factors that lead to a senior’s nutritional needs being met. Loss of appetite due to medications, chronic illness, or changes in bowel habits can create challenges. Your loved one may also have lost interest in preparing meals, or may not be able to use kitchen appliances or utensils such as knives safely. Summertime in the valley of the sun is another reason for loss of appetite, as the increased temperatures diminish appetite and also drive us all out of the kitchen and away from a hot stove.

Nightingale Homecare, the top rated Arizona home care agency, wants to help! We’ve compiled several of our favorite simple, delicious, healthy summer recipes. Enjoy!

  • Breakfast Parfaits

    INGREDIENTS:
    Granola, yogurt and favorite fruit: blueberries, bananas, raspberries, blackberries, peaches, etc.

    PREPARATION:
    Layer equal portions in a parfait glass.
    You can drizzle with maple syrup, cream or top with whipped cream!
    Unless you are using bananas, these can be prepared in advance. Just cover and refrigerate.
  • Tapas Plate with Marinated Chickpeas
    This simple dish offered by realsimple.com is a great summertime option that can be made and plated in advance for your loved one to just pull from the fridge.

    INGREDIENTS:
    15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed
    ½ cup raisins
    ¼ cup chopped roasted red peppers
    ¼ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
    2 scallions, sliced
    3 tablespoons olive oil
    Kosher salt and black pepper
    ½ pound Manchego cheese, sliced
    ¼ pound thinly sliced Serrano ham or prosciutto
    ½ cup mixed olives
    ½ small loaf country bread

    PREPARATION:
    In a medium bowl, combine the chickpeas, raisins, roasted peppers, parsley, scallions, oil, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
    Serve with the cheese, ham, olives, and bread.
  • Zucchini Lasagna with Farmer Cheese
    Martha Stewart offers this no cooking required recipe for “lasagna” made of garden-fresh zucchini and tomatoes, layered with creamy farmer cheese and basil leaves.

    INGREDIENTS:
    Farmer’s cheese
    Salt and pepper
    Olive oil
    Zucchini
    Tomatoes
    Basil

    PREPARATION:
    Season farmer’s cheese with salt, pepper, and olive oil. Layer 2 strips zucchini with cheese, sliced tomatoes, and basil. Repeat; top with zucchini. Drizzle with oil; sprinkle with salt, pepper and basil.
  • Mini Frozen Key Lime Pies
    Epicurious offers this summertime favorite no-bake dessert. These mini pies can be prepared weeks in advance and frozen for your loved one to remove from the freezer when he or wants a sweet treat!

    INGREDIENTS:
    5 tablespoons unsalted butter
    1 tablespoon honey
    1 cup graham cracker crumbs (from about 8 crackers)
    1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
    1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
    3 tablespoons finely grated key lime zest, divided
    1/3 cup fresh key lime juice
    2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
    3/4 cup chilled heavy cream
    2 tablespoons powdered sugar

    PREPARATION:
    Melt butter and honey in a small saucepan over medium heat or in a microwave-safe bowl. Pulse graham crackers in a food processor until fine crumbs form. With the motor running, drizzle in butter-honey mixture and process until well combined. Transfer mixture to a medium bowl; set aside.

    Using an electric mixer on high speed, beat cream cheese in a large bowl until creamy, about 3 minutes. Add condensed milk and beat until smooth. Add key lime juice and lemon juice and beat to combine. Beat in 2 tbsp. key lime zest.

    Using a whisk or electric mixer on medium-high speed, whip cream in another medium bowl to very soft peaks. Sprinkle powdered sugar over cream and continue to whip until it holds stiff peaks. Gently fold ½ cup cream into key lime mixture; cover remaining cream and chill.

    Line muffin pan with paper liners. Pour key lime mixture into a pastry bag or plastic bag with the corner snipped off and pipe batter evenly into tins. Top each with 1 ½ tbsp. cracker crumb mixture, breaking up crumbs to completely cover, then press down gently to adhere. Freeze until set, at least 3 hours.

    Remove pies from molds, turn upside down, and remove paper liners. Spread reserved cream over pies and top with remaining 1 tbsp. key lime zest.

Even though it takes a little more planning to prepare these and other healthy summer recipes for your senior loved one, it’s nice to enjoy the flavors of the season and take a cooking break! And Nightingale Homecare is on hand to help in a variety of ways: picking up groceries, preparing and serving nutritious meals, and even cleaning up the kitchen afterwards, just to name a few. Call on the top rated Arizona home care agency, Nightingale Homecare, at (602) 504-1555 to learn more!