In my Geriatric Nutrition class, we’re learning all about the nutritional needs for seniors, as well as the challenges associated with getting older. As the Baby Boomers are now reaching the retirement age, it’s essential for RDs to fully understand this area of nutrition. I was excited when I found out that we were going to be providing nutrition education in the community about various nutrition topics to older adults.
The location my partner and I were assigned to is called the Colony House. It’s located in Ward 4 in Washington, DC. This center is a non-profit organization (which also receives support from the DC Office on Aging) that is part of a network of other senior centers that provide numerous services to the elderly. Many of these programs include: providing lunch, exercise and fitness classes, recreation such as field trips, arts and crafts, counseling, and many more services that help enrich the lives of seniors living in Ward 4.
Our first of many presentations was this morning, and we decided that a great topic to start off with was water and hydration. Many people don’t realize that as you get older, your body has a reduced sense of thirst. As a result, many seniors forget to drink purely because their body isn’t telling them they are thirsty! It’s really interesting, and we definitely emphasized this fact.
We also discussed the role of water in the body, the importance of getting enough water, understanding the signs and risks of dehydration, identifying foods with high water content (fruits and veggies!), and teaching them easy ways to incorporate ways to add water to their daily routines. We even handed out cups of water to them while we were presenting, and they were definitely wanting refills after learning about this topic!
Overall, I think they really learned a lot, and I hope this makes a difference in their lives. We’ll be presenting to them again in two weeks, and I think another great topic to discuss is MyPlate (which many people still have not heard of). I’ll be sure to let you know how it goes!