Nutrient-dense foods help patients heal more quickly.
Many bedridden seniors have lower caloric needs than active seniors and younger adults. However, bedridden seniors with certain health conditions do have increased calorie needs. The number of calories they should consume daily is based on their body weight and the condition of their health.
A study published in the вЂњJournal of the American Geriatrics SocietyвЂќ in 2007 examined hospitalized geriatric patients admitted to rehabilitation or acute care units. The researchers found that the average resting energy expenditure of these elderly patients was 18.8 calories per kilogram of body weight, which equates to about 8.5 calories per pound of body weight daily. However, researchers report that this energy intake covers minimal nutritional needs, and many hospitalized elderly patients would benefit from higher intakes. Based on these findings, a 115-pound bedridden elderly woman requires a minimum of 978 calories daily.
Seniors With Pressure Sores
Bedridden seniors with pressure sores often need more calories and protein than bedridden seniors without pressure sores because the extra nutrients help heal the sores and prevent new ones from forming. A study published in 2007 вЂњThe Journals of GerontologyвЂќ found that elderly bedridden patients with pressure sores had average resting energy expenditures of 25.8 calories per kilogram of body weight, which equates to 11.7 calories per pound of body weight daily. For example, a 115-pound bedridden elderly woman with pressure sores needs about 1,346 calories daily.
Choosing Healthy Foods
Since bedridden seniors generally require fewer calories daily than mobile seniors, it's important to make the calories count by choosing nutrient-dense foods. Examples include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, vegetable oils and protein-rich foods -- such as lean meats, eggs, fish, poultry, soy products, dairy foods, nuts, seeds and legumes. Protein-rich medical nutrition shakes are a welcome addition to menus of bedridden seniors who have difficulty chewing or who are experiencing unintentional weight loss.
Calories From Protein
Getting plenty of calories from protein may increase quality of life for bedridden seniors. A 2008 review published in вЂњClinical NutritionвЂќ found that elderly individuals wishing to optimize health may benefit from consuming 1.5 grams of protein per kilogram, equivalent to 0.68 gram of protein per pound of body weight, each day. A 2012 review published in the "Indian Journal of Plastic Surgery" confirms that getting 1.5 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight daily is important for patients with pressure ulcers.