Vital Health Zone is proud to announce Lesa Rusher, who is our resident naturopathic expert and who is available to answer questions about nutrition and health.
Lesa Rusher is a qualified naturopath with a thriving business in Canberra, Australia and has a wealth of experience treating clients on a variety of health issues. Lesa Rusher's full credentials can be found in our experts area.
Lesa Rusher will answer your nutrition-related questions.
Q: My mother-in-law is 89 years old has Parkinson's disease and osteoporosis and lived in extreme poverty during the depression. She now lives alone and the main (only) factor she employs when deciding what groceries to buy is price. She eats little meat, some yoghurt, cereal for breakfast and little vegetables other than lettuce and has take-out food from McDonalds or Subway once a week. I thought I might start preparing meals for her that she could heat up each day.
She also turns the temperature up on her two-year-old refrigerator every night because she thinks that because the coils in the back are hot, her mobile home will catch fire and burn down.
We are thinking we will need to have her move in with us because of the mounting problems she cannot deal with on her own. We hope to keep her in her own home for another year, if possible, because our oldest daughter will leave for college then and grandma can have her room. Any advice will be appreciated.
A: From the information you have given, it certainly sounds like your mother-in-law is most likely not getting enough nutrients each day, but the only person who can really ascertain this is a registered dietician. A registered dietician can talk to you and your husband about the necessary nutritional needs of your mother-in-law and try to work out if she is meeting these requirements.
We all need adequate levels of all the vitamins, minerals, amino acids and other nutrients each day. In addition to this, we all need to have specific amounts of each food group each day. Take a look at the portions recommended for someone who is over 70 to determine if your mother-in-law is getting enough of each food group:
- Dairy food group
- Fats and oils food group
- Fruit food group
- Grains and cereals food group
- Meat and protein food group
- Vegetables food group
Making food that your mother-in-law can just heat up is an excellent way to help provide better nutritional intake, but it may be that she needs more assistance than this.
You may try providing the food for your mother-in-law for a certain amount of agreed time (say 1-3 months) to determine if this has a positive effect on your mother-in-law's life. If it does not, then you will need to re-assess the situation.
It would be useful if you could discuss your mother-in-law's living arrangements, dietary requirements and other needs with her doctor (you and your husband in attendance with her) so that you can work out an optimal solution that works best for all of you.
Please note that the information provided is for educational purposes only and is not meant to diagnose or treat medical conditions. Consult with your medical physician regarding appropriateness of using supplements in your healing process.
Enjoy better health!