Is your aging family member avoiding meals or choosing foods that don’t have a lot of nutritional value? That isn’t unusual for seniors, but it can lead to bigger health problems. Here are some tips that can help you to encourage her to eat healthier meals on a more regular basis so that she’s able to stay as healthy as possible.
Don’t Try to Make Your Senior Eat Foods She Hates
If there are foods your senior absolutely hates eating, don’t try to make her eat them at all. When someone has food aversions, more exposure to those foods isn’t going to make a difference. That’s especially true as your senior gets older. Focus on what she’s willing to eat and go from there. Try to remember what it’s like for you to be forced to eat foods you don’t like, even if they’re healthy options.
Put a Plan Together for Healthy Eating
Without a plan, this is going to be a lot more difficult for both you and your aging family member. Preparing a menu each week or each month helps your senior to know what to expect and it can make shopping and meal prep easier, too. If your elderly family member needs help with that, home care providers can make those tasks much simpler.
Focus on Keeping Meals Dense in Nutrients
When you’re talking with your senior about meals, the focus needs to be on nutritionally dense foods. That’s even more important if your senior has been really erratic in her eating habits. When she does eat, you need to be getting as many nutrients into her body as possible.
Schedule Meals and Snacks throughout the Day
Something else that can help is to set specific meal and snack times throughout your senior’s day. This helps her body to start to expect foods at certain times. Your elderly family member may still not be excited about eating, but she knows when those meals and snacks are planned to occur.
Consider Whether Your Senior Needs Company
Does your elderly family member need companionship while she eats? Lots of people need to eat with other people in order to feel comfortable eating. In some cases, that’s the missing link when it comes to eating consistently. If this is the case for your senior, elder care professionals are a great choice. Home care providers can spend mealtimes with your elderly family member, engaging her in conversation while she eats.
Work with Her Doctor
Keep working with your elderly family member’s doctor to make sure she’s getting enough nutrients. If she’s still having trouble eating consistently, there may be other solutions that her doctor recommends. Her doctor can also help you to finetune any of the aspects of her plan that you’re worried aren’t giving her what she needs.
Hopefully it becomes easier for your elderly family member to get the nutrition that she needs on a consistent basis. Reassessing the plan periodically can help to keep up with changes she might experience.