As you get older, your body experiences physiological changes that likely will affect how you eat, what you eat and how your body processes it, according to Colorado State University. Foods you loved as a 20-year-old may not appeal to you as an 84-year-old. However, that doesn't negate the need for you to eat well, In fact, 84-year-olds, like all elderly people, have specific needs for a healthy diet.
Most elderly people, including 84-year-olds, should pay close attention to the nutrient density of their food to make certain they're getting as much as they can from their diets, according to Colorado State University. If you reduce the fat content in your diet, especially from animal fats, you'll have a better chance at losing weight you may need to lose, and you may reduce your risk of certain chronic diseases. You should try to eat about 60 percent of your calories as carbohydrates, which can include vegetables, fruits, grains and legumes. Also, make sure you're getting at least the minimum recommended daily amounts of essential vitamins and minerals.
Many 84-year-olds suffer from one or more chronic diseases, including diabetes or heart disease, according to Colorado State University. Because of that, you'll need to modify your diet to make sure it's healthy for your specific condition. If you're diabetic, take special care to keep your blood sugar under control by focusing on whole grains and other foods that won't cause it to rise. If you've got heart disease or are at risk for the condition, focus on lowering your cholesterol intake and your intake of animal fats in both dairy and meat products.
Although little medical research has been done on what constitutes healthy diets for the elderly, one medical study indicates that the so-called Mediterranean diet may have benefits for those in their 60s, 70s and 80s. The study, published in 2004 in the medical journal "Public Health Nutrition," looked at elderly people in Greece, Spain, Denmark and Australia. It found that the Mediterranean diet, which includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, olive oil, whole grains and fish, is associated with longevity in the elderly, and constitutes a healthy diet pattern.
Healthy diets for an 84-year-old will vary depending on what other health conditions you have and on whether you need to lose weight. You should be able to make minor changes to your diet without difficulty, but if you plan major changes, you definitely should check in with your doctor first to make sure you're on the right track, and to make sure you're meeting your nutritional needs.