St. Anthony's Senior Living

Dining at St. Anthony’s: The Importance of Good Nutrition for Seniors

Good nutrition is one of the most important aspects of our overall health. At St. Anthony’s, we’ve made it a priority to offer a variety of nutritious (and delicious!) meals to our residents. 

If you know a senior who struggles with proper nutrition or want to learn more about why a well-balanced diet is extra important for older adults, explore everything from senior nutrition facts to a breakdown of what dining and nutrition look like at St. Anthony’s.


Why Nutrition Matters for Seniors

According to Health in Aging, 10% of older adults aging at home undereat, and half of seniors currently in hospitals or nursing homes are malnourished! Poor nutrition is a serious issue and can have a major negative impact on senior health and well-being.


How Nutrition Affects Physical Health in Seniors

Everyone feels the impact of poor nutrition. For instance, you likely feel much more lethargic after a fatty fast food meal than you do after a hearty salad and lean chicken breast. From reduced energy levels and poor sleep to a weakened immune system, poor nutrition has a significant effect on physical health. Seniors can feel this impact even further. Seniors struggling with poor nutrition have an increased risk of chronic health conditions such as:

  • Osteoporosis
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Asthma
  • Type 2 diabetes


The physical weakness caused by poor nutrition may also increase the risk of falling, which can lead to all manner of injuries and hospitalizations for older adults due to the fragility that comes with an aging body!


How Nutrition Affects Mental Health in Seniors

Nutrition is more than physical fitness and health; it is also important for mental fortitude and reducing brain fog! Along with the low energy felt as a result of poor nutrition, people may feel depressed or experience significant mood swings. As we get older, nutrition can have an even more significant effect on mental health and even cause memory loss.


What Makes Senior Nutrition Difficult?

Expecting seniors to solve the problem by simply eating healthier meals is much easier said than done. Aging adults may experience many difficulties and discomforts that make it challenging to maintain a healthy diet.


Difficulties with Eating

The act of eating may be difficult for some seniors as their bodies change and age. These difficulties with eating may include struggling to chew and swallow, or being unable to handle utensils and operate the motor skills necessary for self-feeding. These issues can feel embarrassing for older adults to talk about, and many will suffer in silence before asking for the help they need.


Mental Health

Seniors with poor mental health may have a decreased appetite as a result. This is especially common for seniors living alone, who are at greater risk for depression because of their social isolation. Depression and other mental health struggles may be the root cause behind your loved one forgetting to eat, drink water, or take their medicine.


Memory Loss

Older adults experiencing memory loss conditions like Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia can easily forget whether or not they have eaten. This can result in overeating but usually causes them to forget to eat altogether.


Appetite Changes

It’s normal for the appetite to change and decrease as we age because of lifestyle changes, physiological changes, and medications. Because a reduced appetite is so common for seniors, it’s even more important for every meal to be nutrient-dense and designed to fuel the body!


How We Prioritize Nutrition in Senior Dining at St. Anthony’s

As an award-winning community for senior care in Kansas City, we’ve made it our mission at St. Anthony’s to provide a dining experience for our residents that is both nutritious and enjoyable! Here’s our approach to dining and nutrition:


1. Dietician-Approved Menu

Professional dieticians review and approve every item on our menu, ensuring well-balanced plates for our seniors. We make sure each menu covers all the essential food groups for our residents, from fruits and vegetables to whole grains to lean meats, fish, and vegetarian proteins.


2. Senior Safe Foods

Going back to the issue of motor skills limiting the ability of older adults to feed themselves, we’ve sought to empower assisted living residents with finger foods that they can easily manage on their own, cut into small enough pieces to reduce the risk of choking. Caregivers are always available for mealtime support for assisted living and memory care residents.

For seniors who struggle with chewing up their food, we have many soft options available and can serve food pre-cut into more manageable portions as needed.


3. Delicious Variety

Safe, dietician-approved foods are nice, but can be very boring — and no one wants to eat the same bland, boring meals every day! The menu at St. Anthony’s is ever-changing, offering unique and delicious options to meet every taste, preference, and dietary need. For those who prefer a comfortable routine, we also have a menu of healthy and familiar staples our residents love, including homemade chili, the Best Bacon Cheeseburger, and a fully-stocked salad bar.

In the mood for something else? All of our meals are customizable to dietary needs and preferences — our five-star chef will be more than happy to accommodate you!


4. Family-style Dining

Dining is one of the ways we combat social isolation at St. Anthony’s. While residents can grab their meal as carryout or order room delivery, St. Elizabeth’s Bistro is a beautiful and relaxing dining experience meant to encourage community and social interaction. This is where fast friends are formed at St. Anthony’s, and it’s not uncommon to see residents grab a few buddies before heading to lunch or dinner!

In assisted living and memory care, we always eat together in family-style dining. Not only does this make it easier for caregivers to assist residents who need the extra hand, but it also is valuable for memory retention by following a flexible and familiar routine.


Dinner is on Us!

If you’re looking for senior care in Kansas City with excellent nutritious dining, you’ve come to the right place! Whether you’re looking to downsize and experience the amenities of independent living or have a loved one in need of extra support and assistance with daily tasks like eating, St. Anthony’s provides a dining experience like none other in senior care.

Contact us to learn more and schedule a tour of our beautiful campus!