We are what we eat, and eating a well-balanced diet high in nutritional value, fiber and immune-supporting antioxidants is essential to us all, but even more so as we age.
Yet, eating becomes less something we enjoy and more a chore as we get older. There are many reasons for this. Eating alone just doesn’t inspire us to eat as healthily or as often, medications or health treatments may interfere with appetite and often come with dietary restrictions. Physical problems with digestion, lack of exercise, diabetes and even depression can all affect our eating habits.
Getting elderly adults to eat is often a great source of stress for family caregivers, so we’ve compiled some helpful hints to hopefully make mealtime more enjoyable and “productive.” Celebrate National Nutrition Month by considering some of these hints. Let us know what you think by leaving comments below!
7 Helpful Hints to Encourage Elderly to Eat:
- Water, water everywhere. Lack of water leads to appetite suppression and is required for almost every bodily function.
- Keep meals smaller. Instead of three large meals a day, think six smaller meals, just make sure they’re healthy and not snack traps.
- Bulk up calories with each meal. Add protein powder to shakes or drinks, shredded veggies to scrambled eggs, skim milk powder for calcium to pasta sauce, or a soybean paste called miso as a soup base for all the health benefits that come with it.
- Get their teeth checked. Maybe they can’t chew or are in pain, which is affecting what they can eat. Soft foods are better here.
- Put the power in their hands. Get their suggestions of what to eat and have them help out in the process as they can. Along with feeling more in-control, they may enjoy the eating process more if they’ve had input.
- Improve the dining experience. Soft music, attractive garnishes, calm discussion and consistent meal times all make for a routine of comfort.
- Make it tasty. Don’t rely on salt to improve taste. Experiment with kitchen herbs and sodium-reduced sauces for taste enhancement.
RELATED POSTS & RESOURCES:
Senior Nutrition – An informative article from The Help Guide
Caregivers Give Comfort Feedings For Alzheimer’s Care – Premier Homecare Services blog
Healthy Eating for Seniors – Article from Nutrition.com
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