Guest Post Author: JJ Koll | https://courtyardatmttabor.com/
When it comes to elderly care, there is one thing which calls for greater attention. Yes, you guessed it right- the meal. Whatever they eat affects their health physically and mentally, together. Hence, if you are struggling with the challenge of preparing a senior a meal, here is some help.
Do you have an elderly loved one living at home? Or do you have the responsibility to cook meals for seniors at an assisted living home?
In both the cases, there is a big challenge to deal with as whatever you make needs to be best at taste and very nutritious. And then there will be many hurdles like sudden shifts in their eating patterns.
There are chances that the physician has expressed concern regarding their weight. So, you will be required to monitor diet and eating patterns too. In short, there is a lot to consider when you prepare something for elderly loved ones. To simplify your work a little, below are some important considerations.
Check for Loss of Appetite
In most cases, it happens that older adults do not eat as much compared to their younger age. So, there are chances that they would prefer having a full meal only once a day. Or the other case would be that they eat several small meals or snacks a day. There is nothing wrong with either way. Here it is worth understanding that for a senior, food is about quality, not quantity. So, please don’t force them to eat more than necessary.
You can begin by offering them something healthy with what they love to eat, preferably in small amounts. For instance, if you want them to have healthy food like steamed broccoli, give it to them with a small portion of their favorite meat.
Be Regular and Consistent
The golden rule to keep elderly people happy with their food routine is to keep up with consistency and routine. Hence, get into a habit of offering them their meals and snacks at the same time each day. Don’t delay or make it early. While this will help them develop a habit of eating, it will also set their hunger patterns. Plus, be mindful that their habits and preferences of younger years will not go away very soon. This means if they don’t like raw carrots when they were younger, they likely won’t eat them when they are older. Never take away the food preference completely.
Keep an Eye on Mechanical Issues
Is there anything which prevents them from eating properly? There can be some external factors that affect eating like dentures and difficulty in swallowing. Many elderly would like to have a normal appetite but won’t be able to eat normally because of those issues. It is your responsibility to serve foods that are easy to chew. Ensure that vegetables are always cooked well and are as soft as possible without losing flavor. And if the conditions tend to be severe, look for a meal replacement. You can switch to shakes, soups, and supplements available to help provide adequate nutrition.
Consider Health Issues Too
Just like mechanical issues, there can be some health problems which affect how an older adult eats. For example, if a person has diabetes, he/she will require small meals frequently. But here you have to be more careful as you have to limit fruit and juice intake. The best thing you can do is plan their meals to maintain consistency.
Remember, there are several health issues, and each case is different. It is a must that you make a list of food preferences as per the health constraints and serve what is right.
Now once you have the answers to these simple questions, you can plan and prepare a proper diet for the elderly. Lastly; always be patient, plan meals of time, and try to make mealtime an enjoyable experience.
Have any experiences to share? Or have some other ideas to care for seniors? Share your views, ideas or experiences in comments below.
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Author the Author:
JJ Koll has a broad experience of over 20 years in the senior housing industry which comprises of census growth, team building, and leadership to achieve business goals & objectives. Currently, working as a senior housing executive at Courtyard at Mt. Tabor, Portland, OR to take care of all the senior living facilities in the community. Follow Courtyard at Mt. Tabor on Facebook and YouTube.