Aging adults need a nutritious, balanced diet so their bodies have sufficient fuel to keep going and maintain optimal health. Your older loved one may begin to experience changes in appetite with age, which can interfere dramatically with the ability to get proper nutrition. It can be frustrating to watch your loved one push away the meal you’ve just prepared after eating only one or two bites. For family caregivers, this frustration can lead to arguments and tension as you do everything you can to persuade your loved one to eat his or her food. Although reduced appetite is common among aging adults, poor nutrition can lead to physical and cognitive problems. To help your loved one avoid issues with malnutrition, keep these simple tips in mind.
Serve More than Three Meals a Day
A full plate of food can be very off-putting to an elderly person who is experiencing appetite issues. One of the most common things you might hear is an exclamation of “But I can’t eat all that!” To work around this problem, give up the idea that your loved one must eat three large meals every day. Instead, serve five to six smaller meals throughout the day, preferably on a saucer or smaller plate to make the meals appear less intimidating.If preparing nutritious meals for your loved one every day is challenging for you, a professional caregiver can be a wonderful resource.Senior careproviderscan benefit aging adults in a variety of ways. From cooking nutritious meals to offering timely medication reminders, the dedicated caregivers at Home Care Assistance are available to help your elderly loved one 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Choose Foods Carefully
If you’re going with the plan to serve several small meals during the day, make sure the food you provide is as nutritious as possible. Small servings of fresh fruit or veggies with dip are a great source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. To make sure your loved one is taking in enough protein, snacks such as cheese or peanut butter and crackers, hard-boiled eggs, yogurt, and cottage cheese are all excellent choices. These options are often better than meat, which takes more energy to digest and can cause an unpleasant feeling of being overly full.A home caregiver can help your loved one plan and prepare nutritious meals he or she will want to eat. Aging in place can present a few unique challenges for older adults. Some only require part-time assistance with exercise or meal preparation, while others are living with serious illnesses and benefit more significantly from receiving live-in care. Des Moines, IA, Home Care Assistance are leaders in the elderly in-home care industry for good reason. We tailor our care plans based on each senior’s individual needs, our caregivers continue to receive updated training in senior care as new developments arise, and we also offer comprehensive care for seniors with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and Parkinson’s.
Shake Up the Eating Routine
There will be good days and bad days when it comes to your parent’s appetite. If your loved one is having a bad day and is simply not interested in food, try replacing one or more snacks with a high-quality shake. These shakes are usually based on some form of dairy or dairy substitute (for instance, you can use oat milk or almond milk for the base) and include frozen or fresh fruits, spices such as cinnamon or nutmeg, and healthy sweeteners such as raw honey. Shakes are also a good option for seniors with Parkinson’s or dementia who have difficulty swallowing food. Shakes provide their daily nutritional requirements and can reduce the risk of choking.If your loved one still lives at home, consider bringing in a trained professional caregiver to plan and prepare nutritious meals customized for your loved one’s needs and tastes. In Des Moines, elderly home care agenciescan be a great boon to seniors. With the help of the caregivers at Home Care Assistance, your aging loved one can lead a happier and healthier life. We offer a revolutionary program called the Balanced Care Method, which encourages seniors to eat nutritious foods, exercise and socialize regularly, and focus on other lifestyle factors that increase life expectancy. If you need professional home care for your loved one, reach out to one of our Care Managers today at (515) 264-2438.