Eating a healthy and nutritious meal can add more years to our lives. Also, it can improve the quality of life while living those years. A diet that is fully rich in nutrients, and low in unhealthy ingredients, including bad fats and added salt and sugar, reduces the risk of osteoporosis, heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, vision loss, frailty, and even Alzheimer’s disease. It also aids seniors to keep a healthy weight. But as people age, they can encounter barriers to good nutrition.
Here are common challenges and how families can help their loved ones overcome these challenges.
Loss of appetite. Diminishing taste, vision, and smell can be age-related. Changes in the digestive system can make food less inviting or less appealing. To enhance the flavor of their food, try condiments, spices, and marinades. Older people may be more sensitive to some foods that are very sour or spicy. Of course, prevent using excess salt.
Health problems. Missing or loose teeth, Parkinson’s disease, arthritis, Alzheimer’s, or the effect of getting a stroke can make it hard to plan and prepare meals, use utensils, chew, and swallow. You can address these problems with the healthcare provider of your senior loved ones. The dietician or doctor might suggest foods and modified cooking procedures, tools, meal plans, and meal programs.
Financial challenges. Most communities offer meal programs for older people, like community dining programs or Meals on Wheels. As the pandemic urges, these programs have become delivered. If your loved one and your family have some financial challenges, they can qualify for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Assist your loved one so a local senior service can contact them and be part of this program.
Transportation. When it is not safe for an older adult to drive, running errands and getting groceries can be a difficult one! Friends and family can offer to pick up what their loved ones take or need them to the grocery. There are many options for transportation, such as senior transportation, some volunteers, and ride-sharing companies. During the pandemic, senior folks have found out the convenience of restaurants and grocery delivery. Families can be a help to their loved ones navigate apps and websites.
Social isolation. Lonely seniors often ignore to eat-or they might choose unhealthy, processed comfort food that has high fat, sugar, and salt. A few people feel encouraged to cook for them. Some community dining programs offer companionship; it enhances appetite. It also encourages senior loved ones to eat healthier meals. Friends and families can schedule meals with their senior loved ones or have some cooking gatherings to make healthy and nourishing meals for their loved ones.
Home Care Ways to Support the Nutrition of Your Senior Loved Ones
Meal preparation. A trained, knowledgeable, expert in-home caregiver can serve your loved ones as a chef, preparing snacks and meals your loved one likes while adjusting to follow the prescribed special doest such as low-salt, low-fat, soft, or gluten-free. Your senior loved one can partake in menu preparation; study how food choice can improve appetite.
Shop for groceries. The professional in-home caregiver can pick up food and groceries at the restaurant or the store if your loved one cannot go or chooses not to. But for loved ones with mobility or cognitive impairment who spend the most time at home, a trip to the grocery store can be beneficial for them. Having a little exercise while making choices from different products and aisles of multicolor packages give an appetite boost.
Companionship. Watching the in-home caregiver prepare the meal and set the table lovely, and enjoying light and pleasant conversation during mealtime are appetite boosters. Seniors with chewing or swallowing challenges feel more safe and confident with a nonjudgmental, supportive in-home caregiver by their side.
Transportation. Grocery is one of the things to do if you are with seniors. There will be plenty to be done. Your loved one will have an appointment with the doctor, dentist, speech-language therapist, a dietician if they have swallowing issues or need an occupational therapist to help them with eating and preparing meals. The in-home caregiver can look after your loved one to these appointments and trips. They can also be with them while exercising and staying connected to the world.
Memory care. Senior adults with Alzheimer’s disease or other types of cognitive disability may have reduced appetite and a sense of thirst. They may also have some difficulties using utensils and swallowing food. The professional in-home caregiver can prepare special food and supervise, and encourage as advised by the health care provider of your loved one.
Senior Buddies in-home caregivers are professionals and trained individuals to assist our clients following recommended food by their health care provider. We offer various in-home care services for your loved ones who need assistance at home. One of these is stroke care plans. We are proud to provide you quality stroke care plans for your loved ones. Call Senior Buddies now and ask for a consultation.