The best dining culture in aged care meets elderly nutrition and hydration needs, and is also delicious. But what does a great diet for health and happiness entail? Let’s look at what should be considered in aged care nutrition and how an aged care provider can help.


What are the nutritional needs for elderly people?

Our nutritional needs tend to change as we get older. The way we move throughout our day can change, our metabolisms can change, and we might start needing more of certain foods and less of others. Our appetites and our taste perception can also alter with age, which means we might eat quite differently than we did 25, 10 or even 5 years ago.

While a varied, fresh and healthy diet is still the best approach, there are some key things to consider to maintain good health.


Key nutrients that are important for older adults

Healthy carbs, protein, fat, vitamins, and minerals benefit us at all ages, but here’s how our needs can change in our 60s, 70s, 80s and beyond.


Because protein helps us to repair and grow new cells, it’s important for our muscle health as well as recovery from illness or injury. Research suggests that older adults can have higher protein requirements, so it’s ideal to eat protein-rich foods like meat, chicken, fish, eggs, legumes, beans and lentils, quinoa and wholegrains. Some older people also benefit from a high protein diet to help maintain their weight.


Fats are not all bad – in fact, good fats are really important for heart health, reducing inflammation, providing energy, keeping us warm, and helping to absorb vitamins like A, D, Omega-3 and Omega-6. Too much weight loss can negatively impact wellbeing in older age, so it’s better to focus on general health rather than aiming for a low BMI. Foods like olive oil, fish, nut butters, eggs and avocado are all excellent inclusions for a healthy diet.


Dietary carbohydrates help us to power our cells and brain, control blood glucose and protect our muscles from wasting away, so they’re definitely amongst the key nutritional needs for elderly people. In older age it’s particularly important to keep up fibre intake, so a well-balanced diet will include wholegrains and complex carbs like legumes, sweet potatoes, beans and oats. 


Vitamins play multiple roles in our health. It can be particularly common for older people to be deficient in Vitamin D, Vitamin C, Vitamin E and Vitamin B6, as our bodies are less able to absorb vitamins as we age. This is why it’s important to eat a whole rainbow of foods such as citrus fruits, cruciferous vegetables, tomatoes, nuts, leafy green vegetables, berries and dairy.


Calcium, magnesium and potassium can become common nutritional deficiencies in older age, and these minerals are essential for things like strong bones, nerve function and blood pressure. Dairy, fish, lentils, tea and coffee, green leafy vegetables and fortified cereals can all play a part in keeping these levels healthy. 

Another key consideration is our salt intake. We all need some sodium, but too much salt over time can lead to high blood pressure and heart issues. As such, many older people need to keep an eye on salt intake.


Tips for meeting the nutritional needs of older adults

While everyone’s taste and dietary requirements are unique, there are some general tips that can help us meet our nutritional needs.     

Eating a variety of foods

In our entire human history we’ve never had it so good in terms of food variety, and this is great news for achieving a balance of vitamins, minerals, fats, protein and carbs. This can mean enjoying a mixture of colourful vegetables, wholegrains, meat, dairy, nuts and seeds and legumes. And of course, the odd baked treat for happiness! 

Choosing nutrient-rich foods

Nutrient-rich and energy-rich foods can be particularly important if someone doesn’t have a large appetite, or has started to lose weight rapidly. At Aurrum Aged Care homes we work with dieticians to develop meal plans that can deliver a lot of nourishment even in smaller portions. These can include dairy, legumes, nuts, seeds and our high-energy high-protein milkshakes.    

Getting enough fluids

Drinking enough water is really key as we get older because staying hydrated helps us in so many ways, including for oral health, kidney function, clear thinking and healthy digestion. We can maintain our hydration levels through regular cups of water, tea, coffee and other liquids such as juice and soups.    

Speaking with our doctor

Healthcare professionals can help us to find the ideal dietary balance for our bodies, and help us to adapt our diets if we have dietary requirements such as gluten intolerance or a vegetarian lifestyle. A good place to start is your GP, while dieticians and nutritionists can provide more detailed plans and support.

Considering supplements or multivitamins

In most cases we can get all that we need from our food, but in some cases it might be important to take supplements or multivitamins to keep our bodies healthy. It’s vital to work with healthcare professionals to find the right level of supplementation, as some supplements can affect medications or be problematic in high amounts.


How aged care can help manage your nutritional needs

Living in residential aged care can really help to balance nutrition needs for elderly people. Here’s how.

Having meals and snacks prepared for you 

It can be difficult to cook varied, nutritionally rich meals while living at home for multiple reasons. But at an aged care home like Aurrum, you’ll have a passionate chef-led team cooking fresh, seasonal and balanced meals and snacks for you every day. And as a bonus – no washing up! 

Arranging and navigating healthcare appointments

If you’re an aged care resident your aged care provider can help you to arrange appointments with general practitioners, nutritionists and dieticians as needed, in addition to other allied health professionals. Any updates to your dietary requirements will be added to your tailored care plan, so that we can help you with any specific requests or requirements.

Tailoring food to your tastes and needs

Our own food culture at Aurrum is personalised to your preferences and nutritional needs, so your meals can be adapted if you’re vegetarian, don’t eat particular foods for religious reasons, or simply don’t like a certain food! We can also prepare delicious, varied soft food diets for residents who might have trouble chewing or swallowing. And if you require supplements or multivitamins, our care team can help you take these at regular times each day. 

The enjoyment of food

This is such an important element of eating well! A quality aged care provider like Aurrum can help to make sure that eating is enjoyable, varied, delicious and centred around fresh seasonal produce. Our dining rooms are light-filled and social spaces, and at certain Aurrum locations you can even book our private dining rooms to enjoy a silver service meal with your family for a special occasion. Food helps to power our bodies – but it should also be a joy!


Find an aged care provider with a fantastic dining culture

As you might have seen from the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety in 2018, not all aged care providers deliver the same attention and care when it comes to food and nutrition. Yet food can be one of the incredibly important factors to consider for aged care providers. It helps to visit aged care homes in your area and ask about their food and dining culture, as well as paying attention to other factors like quality of care, accommodation and lifestyle programs

If you would like to tour any of Aurrum Aged Care’s locations in NSW or Victoria, you can simply give us a call on 1800 287 786 or email us at to arrange a visit.