Nutrition helps prevent falls -- Rob Severson
Recently, State Journal reporter David Wahlberg wrote a solid series of articles about falls among seniors. One article addressed ways to prevent falls through home assessments, medication review and education.
I will add one more: good nutrition.
I represent the evening Meals on Wheels program. Research from Brown University has shown that meal deliveries help elderly people reduce falls and stay out of nursing homes.
How does good nutrition do that? Nutrition -- specifically protein -- impacts muscles. Muscle loss in seniors diminishes strength and affects mobility and balance, which may trigger falls. Up to one-third of older adults don’t eat enough protein.
The reasons for inadequate nutrition among seniors vary from frailty and lack of appetite to lack of awareness and low income. Meals on Wheels programs combat this food insecurity among seniors. Noon programs are offered in many parts of Dane County. The program I manage is the only evening program in the area, and it has the highest accreditation awarded by Meals on Wheels America.
March is National Nutrition Month. It’s also March for Meals, our national campaign to raise awareness, volunteers and support for this important safety net for seniors. Please spread the word about our programs. Please volunteer and support us. Make a difference in the lives of seniors.
Rob Severson, Madison, manager, evening Meals on Wheels