Good nutrition is important at every stage of life, but especially so for seniors.
As our bodies age, we need more nutrients to boost immunity and fight off illness, maintain bone strength in order to prevent dangerous breaks and fractures, and keep our minds sharp to help with memory.
With aging though often comes a decline in healthy eating habits and lack of appetite due to a variety of reasons such as:
- Trouble swallowing or chewing caused by dental or other issues
- Side effects from medications
- Newly developed food sensitivities and intolerances
- Dislike of eating alone
- Forgetting to eat altogether due to symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia
One of the many at-home care services that Blue Water Homecare provides to seniors aging in place is to help prepare meals and assist with healthy eating. As March is National Nutrition Month, our experienced team of at-home caregivers shares these tips for ensuring that your senior loved one is getting the ample nutrition that they need to stay well:
Know your foods.
Educate yourself about which vitamins and nutrients are most essential for seniors, such as calcium and Vitamin D for healthy bones. Read labels thoroughly and look for foods that may be enriched to provide added nutrition. It’s also a good idea to speak with their physician about possible supplements needed while checking that they do not interfere with any medications they are taking.
Go grocery shopping together.
Taking your senior loved one out to shop can be beneficial so that you can see what they like (and then are more apt to eat) while being helpful in encouraging healthier swaps when possible. Spend the bulk of your time in the produce department for brightly colored fruits and veggies, along with picking out lean meats and fortified-dairy products.
Fuel them up with fiber.
Fiber becomes increasingly important as you age and your metabolism and digestive system slow down. Adding as much fiber to their diet can help to prevent painful constipation. Whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as beans and legumes are all great options to add to their diet.
Pay attention to textures.
Foods that are hard and crunchy are often too difficult for seniors to chew or swallow, and then they may just not bother eating altogether. Try preparing nutritious foods in a smoothie or mashed form if the whole form is too difficult. This is a great way also to add in some extra nutrient-rich ingredients like applesauce, avocado, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, or peanut butter.
Finally, remember that no one likes to eat alone, and perhaps one of the easiest ways to get your loved one to eat better is to sit and join them at the table.
If you are consistently struggling at mealtime, Blue Water can help with grocery shopping, food preparation, and eating assistance.
At Blue Water Homecare, we offer personalized, safe, and comforting at-home, dementia, and Parkinson’s care services. Contact us today to learn how we can help your loved one maintain their dignity and independence while aging in place. And don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Instagram.