6 Tips for Helping Older Adults Overcome Barriers to Eating Healthy
By Chris Cruse 9 am on
As people get older, their appetites can change, often resulting in decreased food intake. Other factors associated with the aging process may also prevent seniors from meeting their nutritional requirements, making them more likely to develop nutritional deficiencies and weakness. Fortunately, the following tips may help your senior loved one overcome obstacles to eating well.
1. Serve Frequent Smaller Meals
Instead of offering your loved one three large meals a day, offer smaller, more frequent meals to ensure he or she doesn’t get too full and disinterested in eating the next meal. Make sure the smaller meals are full of nutrients, fiber, and protein so your loved one gets a variety of nutrition and stays strong.A home caregiver can help your loved one plan and prepare nutritious meals. 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.
2. Address Medication Side Effects
Certain medications can cause loss of appetite and nausea. If your loved one feels sick after taking medicine, call the physician. The doctor will review the medications to determine if they’re causing digestive or gastrointestinal issues. If so, the dosage may be lowered, or the drug may be stopped altogether.
3. Promote Exercise
Seniors often lead sedentary lifestyles, which can prevent the development of a robust appetite. To boost your loved one’s appetite, suggest taking a walk around the neighborhood before mealtimes. The combination of aerobic activity and natural outdoor light can increase hunger so your loved one looks forward to eating.If regularly preparing nutritious meals and helping your loved one exercise safely is challenging for you, a professional caregiver can be a wonderful resource. In-home care providerscan 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.
4. Consider Appetite Enhancers
If your loved one refuses to eat, talk to his or her doctor about prescribing appetite-boosting medications. While these medications are more commonly prescribed for seniors who have end-stage disease or are undergoing chemotherapy, they can be prescribed to seniors with poor appetites who are at risk for nutritional deficiencies. These medications are very effective in promoting hunger, and they typically work very quickly.
5. Ask about Depression
Depression is common in elderly people. If your loved one is depressed, he or she may have a poor appetite. Monitor for signs of depression, such as excessive crying, sleeping too much or too little, becoming socially isolated, and displaying aggressive behaviors. If you believe your loved one is depressed, have a discussion with him or her. Seniors who express their feelings to their family members may be less likely to experience depression and subsequent appetite problems. If talking doesn’t help, make an appointment with a physician, who may suggest seeing a mental health professional.
6. Encourage Getting a Physical
If your loved one isn’t eating well, schedule a physical examination. A poor appetite may be the result of a medical condition, such as diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, severe pain, liver disease, renal problems, or a urinary tract infection. Recognizing and treating these health conditions may result in a heartier appetite.In Des Moines, senior 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. Call us today at (515) 264-2438 to discuss how we can give you the peace of mind that comes from knowing your loved one is being cared for with professionalism and compassion.