Proper nutrition vital for elderly people to stay healthy

Update: August, 04/2016 - 09:00
Lê Thị Bích Thủy of HCM City’s Gò Vấp District said thanks to regular exercise, optimistic spirit and a healthy diet, she still travels around the country on her motorbike at the age of 61. — VNS Photo Xuân Hương
Viet Nam News

HCM CITY — At the age of 61, Lê Thị Bích Thủy of HCM City’s Gò Vấp District still travels around the country on her motorbike with friends, often for charity.

After spending most of her life taking care of her children, it is only in retirement that she has the time to achieve her lifelong dream of travelling around the country.

But clocking all those ways on a motorbike requires physical strength and not a little stamina; so how does she manage it?

“Regular exercise, optimistic spirit and a healthy diet, including nutrition supplements,” she says.

But not all seniors can pursue their dreams like Thủy since more often than not their age, and the infirmity that goes with it, is a handicap. 

A recent survey sponsored by Abbott found that many elderly Vietnamese have unmet dreams but two out of three think their physical condition is a barrier to fulfilling them.

The good news is that 97 per cent of children polled are willing to help their parents pursue their dreams.

Most adult children are aware that infirmity might prevent their parents from achieving their dreams, and are ready to help by providing nutritional support.

Singer Đoan Trang shared a real-life experience about helping her mother achieve a dream.

“I used to think that my mom’s dream was to stay strong and healthy to spend time with her family and take care of her grandchildren.

“Only recently we discovered that she still has an unmet dream: dancing.

“When we first tried to help her achieve this dream, she was lacking the stamina to give it a try. With some encouragement, she started to move a little every day, and had more balanced nutrition to help improve her strength. Now she is able to move on the dance floor.”

Dr Lưu Ngân Tâm, president of the Hồ Chí Minh Society of Parental Enteral Nutrition, said as one grows older nutrition gaps and declining muscle mass contribute to the loss of physical strength, making it difficult for people to perform their daily activities.

Nutrition gaps are brought about by poor digestion and nutrient absorption, illness-induced poor appetite and poor dental function or some loss of the ability to chew, which are all common conditions found in older adults, she told a press meeting in HCM City yesterday.

“A key action to maintaining good strength in the elderly and enabling them to pursue their dreams is to ensure the body gets all the nutrients its needs.

“For elderly people, however, nutrients and protein intake from regular diet may not be enough, and they may need to incorporate an oral nutritional supplement to get the extra nutrients they need,” Tâm said.

Douglas Kuo, general manager of Abbott Vietnam, said: “Having dreams gives people motivation and inspiration to reach for their utmost potential, and that should not have an age limit. With the help of good nutrition, families can support each other in fulfilling their dreams.” — VNS