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Seniors Should Forget the New Year Diets and Embrace Healthy Eating Instead

| News

As the new year begins many of us may reflect on our lifestyles and set goals to become healthier and happier. At Right at Home, the most common ‘resolution’ we see is to eat better and possibly lose a few kilograms – a commendable goal that can improve overall well-being and reduce the risk for certain age-related health conditions. However, the challenge often lies not in setting these goals but in following through with them throughout the year and beyond.

The stumbling block for healthy weight reduction tends to be the allure of quick-fix diets that promise rapid weight loss with minimal effort. Yet research and expert opinion consistently label diets seldom effective in the long term. To truly embrace a healthier lifestyle, older adults should look beyond fad diets and focus on sustainable changes to their eating habits. Seniors should consider changes that can help reduce the risk of developing age-related health problems such as hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and dementia.

Two eating plans that have garnered widespread support from nutritionists and health care professionals are the Mediterranean diet and the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet. Rather than diets it is more accurate to call them lifestyle approaches, offering frameworks for making healthier choices without restrictive calorie counting or forbidden foods.

The Mediterranean Diet: A Healthy Approach to Eating for Older Adults

The Mediterranean diet is inspired by the traditional eating patterns of people living in countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea.

It emphasises:

  • Eating primarily plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts.
  • Replacing butter with healthy fats such as olive oil.
  • Using herbs and spices instead of salt to flavour foods.
  • Limiting red meat to a few times a month and eating fish and poultry at least twice a week.
  • Enjoying meals with family and friends.

The National Heart Foundation of Australia says that “Choosing healthy foods, regularly, helps to ‘crowd out’ less healthy choices like foods rich in saturated and trans fat… Eating too much saturated and trans fat can elevate blood cholesterol levels.”

The DASH Diet: A Balanced Path to Health for Seniors

Similarly, the DASH diet is designed to combat high blood pressure. It also offers comprehensive health benefits. The DASH diet lowers blood pressure, helps lower the levels of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood, helps people lose weight, and reduces the risk of Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

This plan encourages:

  • A variety of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
  • Low-fat or fat-free dairy products.
  • Lean meats, fish, and poultry.
  • Nuts, beans, and seeds in moderation.
  • Limited amounts of fats, oils, and sugary foods.

What both eating plans have in common is a balanced, varied, and inclusive approach to nutrition. They are adaptable and culturally inclusive, making them suitable for a wide range of people. Using a combination of the two eating styles is called MIND (Mediterranean-DASH intervention for neurodegenerative delay).

Senior Health: Lifestyle Changes Over Dieting

When older adults shift their focus from a short-term diet to long-term lifestyle changes, they foster a healthier relationship with food. This approach encourages a pattern of eating that is sustainable, enjoyable, and beneficial to both their physical and mental health.

Here are some tips to implement these healthy eating habits into your lifestyle:

  1. Start small - Implement changes gradually to give your body and palate time to adjust.
  2. Plan meals - Prepare a weekly menu that incorporates elements of the Mediterranean or DASH diet.
  3. Cook at home - You can control the ingredients and portion sizes.
  4. Practice mindful eating - Pay attention to hunger cues and savour your food.
  5. Stay active - Complement your eating plan with regular physical activity.

Consult Your Doctor

Before starting any new eating or exercise plan, it is vital to consult with your health care provider. They can offer personalised advice based on your current health status and long-term goals. You should always follow the care plan prescribed by your doctor, including diet restrictions and recommendations.

In-Home Caregivers Can Help 

The older people get, the harder it can be to oversee all aspects of health and well-being. Often, seniors need encouragement and respectful supervision to make the right choices to safeguard their health. Individuals who have been prescribed an eating plan may need the helping hand of an in-home care provider. Right at Home caregivers can assist with grocery shopping and meal preparation or provide reminders and encouragement.

Right at Home is also an approved provider of Home Care Packages where providing assistance with daily living including meal preparation and shopping is part of the service we can provide under government funded home care packages.

Right at Home also delivers home care support and assistance with these services under private pay arrangements too, for those clients who do not have government funding.


Keep up to date with COVID 19 information on the following links: 

Australian Government Department of Health 

Victorian Health and Human Services 

NSW Health 

Queensland Health 

ACT Health 

WA Department of Health 

Tasmanian Department of Health 

Northern Territory Department of Health 

SA Health 

Founded in 1995, Right at Home offers in-home companionship and personal care, and assistance to seniors (elderly and aged care), and any adult who needs our care at home including adults living with a disability who want to continue to live independently or age in their home. Right at Home is your local expert for issues related to caring for your loved ones and is dedicated to keeping you informed about home care. With no package management fees, Right at Home allows you to get more care from your package or budget. 

Right at Home is a 'My Aged Care' government approved, home care provider for levels 1 – 4 and offers flexible in-home care services such as nursing care, after hospital care, post-operative care, respite care, dementia and Alzheimer's care. Right at Home also offers assistance with daily living and personal care such as grooming, hygiene, transport, shopping, meal prep, domestic services and social support, so your loved one can enjoy a more independent, vibrant life. Our nurses and caregivers are screened, highly trained, and insured prior to entering your home so you can trust us with the caregiving while you focus on your loved one. 

To find out more, please give us a call on 1300 363 802 or visit our website. 

Right at Home Offices in Australia: ACT & Queanbeyan; ACT Canberra; Adelaide Central; Brisbane Bayside; Brisbane North; Brisbane South; Brisbane West; Central Queensland & Wide Bay; Central West New South Wales; Darling Downs; Far North Queensland; Gold Coast North; Gold Coast South; Gosford; Greater Logan; Hunter & Port Stephens; Ipswich Lockyer Valley; Kalgoorlie Wheatbelt; Macarthur Penrith; Mackay; Melbourne Brighton: Melbourne Glen Waverley; Melbourne North; Moreton Bay Region; Newcastle; Noosa, Gympie & Hinterland; Northern Rivers; Padstow St George; Perth Midland; Perth Northern Suburbs; Perth South Eastern Suburbs; Perth West Coast; Southern NSW; Southwest Victoria; Sunshine Coast; Sydney Central & Eastern Suburbs; Sydney Five Dock; Sydney Inner West; Sydney Liverpool; Sydney Lower North Shore; Sydney Northern Beaches; Sydney Norwest; Sydney Parramatta; Sydney Ryde; Sydney Sutherland Shire; Sydney The Hills; Sydney Upper North Shore; Townsville; 

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