Caregivers in Marcellus MI Salt Intake and Seniors

Should Dad Eat Less Salt?

Have you ever thought twice when you see your father reach for the salt shaker? Does he routinely salt food he has not even tasted? Even when you made it with your own loving hands?

Salt and old age have a complex relationship. While many people over 65 could probably stand to eat less salt, a few need more salt in their diets. Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all prescription for how much salt any individual needs. And many caregivers misunderstand where dangerous sodium levels really come from.

Salt sensitive vs. salt resistant

Excess salt consumption raises blood pressure in many people. And these people are said to be “salt sensitive.” Harvard Health estimates that sixty percent of people with high blood pressure are salt sensitive. That means that, if they lower salt intake, their blood pressure is likely to go down.

But that means another forty percent of blood pressure patients will get no benefit from eating bland food. They are “salt resistant.” To make matters even more confusing, there’s a small group of folks who are “reverse salt sensitive,” These people may need to add salt to their diet. You heard that right. Their blood pressure can go too low if they don’t eat enough salt.

Doctors currently consider it too burdensome to measure salt sensitivity in patients. But if dad has gone a month without salt and his high blood pressure hasn’t budged, it’s time for his caregivers to try other treatments.

It’s not the salt shaker; it’s the drive through

Excess sodium normally comes from too much processed food, especially fast food. Cheap burgers, french fries, canned vegetables, ketchup, boxed macaroni and cheese mixes, and mass-produced baked goods have way more salt than most people will detect with their taste buds. Commercial food processors load food with salt to compensate for the flavor lost in processing.

According to Harvard Health, only five percent of your senior’s salt intake comes from table salt added to food. So caregivers might want to give dad a pass when he reaches for the salt shaker.

For people of every age, but particularly the elderly, it makes more sense to increase the number of whole foods consumed. Whole foods are what they sound like. They are foods that look more or less like what they were originally. They aren’t hidden in boxes, cans, and envelopes.

Apples, bananas, cherries, celery, salad greens, and carrots are good examples of whole foods that are, ideally, eaten raw. Potatoes, chicken, fish, and eggs are also whole foods, and they retain their nutrients when cooked. The secret is to cook them yourself, add salt to taste, and avoid the line at the fast food counter.

If your senior has difficulty preparing whole foods, it’s time to hire a home care worker to come in a few hours a week and do some cooking. Your home care professional will cook delicious and healthy meals with a naturally low quantity of salt. Big portions can be broken down and frozen for easy use later.

In conclusion, the perils of salt may have been overestimated. While some people do, indeed, need to cut back on sodium intake, the secret is to avoid over processed and fast food. Grandma was right. Home cooked meals, made from scratch, are the very best.


In defense of the salt shaker

If you are considering caregivers in Marcellus, MI, for an aging loved one, please call the caring staff at Fresh Perspective Home Care at (269) 329-4717. We are here to help!

Caregivers in Marcellus MI Fresh Perspective Home Care What Your Senior Wants

How Can You Tell What Your Senior Wants from Someone Helping Her?

At some stage your elderly family member may need more help, but that doesn’t mean she wants it or is excited to have that help. Working through some of the issues around having more help can give you both a way to take a step back.

Don’t Push Too Hard with the Idea of Help

Lots of times people who are in need of help aren’t sure how to accept that help at first. It’s a difficult situation to get used to and if you’re pushing the idea too hard, that can make your senior more resistant. When you talk about these types of topics can be just as important as what you say, so look for a time when your elderly family member seems open to the idea.

Make Sure You’re Both on the Same Page

What do you mean when you offer your senior more help? It might seem obvious from your point of view, but that doesn’t mean your senior knows exactly what you mean. Talk to her about what you’re envisioning. If that’s a caregiver who comes in according to her schedule and help with specific tasks, lay that out for your senior. Don’t assume that she knows exactly what you mean without talking it through.

Help Her Figure out What She Really Needs

Your senior may have a vague idea that she could use some more assistance, but does she know what she really needs? Sit down with her and work out exactly what she feels would be helpful. If she wants help with driving and meal preparation, that’s important for you to know. If she’d rather have general help with household tasks, that’s good to know, too.

Factor in What She Can Still Do

There’s a lot that your senior can still do and honestly, she should continue to do what she can. That old saying about “use it or lose it” can definitely apply for older adults. The idea behind getting someone in to help her with some tasks isn’t to take everything away from her. It’s to ensure that she’s safe and that she has all of the help that she truly needs and wants so that she isn’t overtaxing herself.

When you and your elderly family member are on the same page about this topic you’re going to find that it’s a lot easier to work through issues that crop up. Take time to touch base and to re-evaluate how things are working, too.

If you are considering caregivers in Marcellus, MI, for an aging loved one, please call the caring staff at Fresh Perspective Home Care at (269) 329-4717. We are here to help!