Diet and Nutrition

Diet and nutrition experts address a wide range of health issues, from weight loss to blood pressure control by helping seniors improve their diets and eating habits.

These experts can help manage health problems and to recover from surgery or illness including:

  • diabetes
  • high blood pressure
  • obesity
  • food allergies
  • cancer
  • heart disease

Services

Some dieticians and nutritionists will go to great lengths to improve eating habits. They will:

  • plan menus
  • write grocery shopping lists
  • teach basic food preparation skills
  • monitor the process
  • report on the findings

A nutritionist does not need any training or experience. This means that while some nutritionists are highly qualified, some lack credentials.

Specialization

A registered dietician (RD) has completed a bachelor’s degree from an accredited school, has at least 900 hours of supervised training, passed a comprehensive nutrition and dietetics exam, is licensed by the state, and takes continuing education classes regularly.

Dietetic Technicians, registered (DTRs) are equivalent to RDs but have an associate’s degree instead of a bachelor’s degree.

If you hire a nutritionist instead of a registered dietician, make sure you confirm his or her education and qualifications. Gerontological dietitians specialize in nutrition for seniors. The American Dietitian Association offers a special gerontological dietitian certification.

Preparation

  • Describe the type of issues you desired to be addressed by the dietitian or nutritionist.
  • Define how much cooking and food preparation your senior will manage.
  • Clarify any illness or surgery from which your senior is recovering.
  • Will your senior’s insurance cover a dietitian? If not, what is your budget?
  • Is your senior able to keep records of his or her diet; or will assistance be needed?
  • Does your senior have:
  • eating habits that may be difficult to change?
  • unique medical conditions or allergies that restrict his or her diet?

Many insurance programs cover the services of a dietitian after a referral from the primary care

Doctor; especially in cases of serious heart disease or diabetes.

Evaluation

  • Describe your qualifications, education, experience, and area of specialty.
  • What experience do you have treating the symptoms my senior is experiencing?
  • What accommodations can you make for seniors who aren’t able to record their food intake or prepare their own meals?
  • How many sessions do you usually have with one client?
  • Do you have references from previous clients?
  • Are home meal delivery services available;  how often and at what charge?

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