If your elderly family member is having trouble chewing her food, she’s at greater risk of choking. In a worst-case scenario, she may have decided that eating is too much trouble, and that isn’t a sustainable solution for long.
Liquid Meal Replacements Can Help
In extreme situations, your elderly family member might need liquid meals. Whether this is temporary or permanent, there are more options than you might think. Milkshakes and smoothies are easy to make with a variety of different ingredients, including lots of fruits and vegetables. But there are also commercial options that use gums and other thickeners to create foods that taste like what they actually are, but are easy to eat without choking.
Cook Vegetables a Little Longer
If your senior is able to eat solid foods still, they do need to be easy to chew and to swallow. While your elderly family member might have enjoyed firmer vegetables in the past, just steaming alone might not be enough for her to be able to eat them now. Roasting them until just beyond fork tender or even boiling them can be good ways to ensure that the vegetables are easier to eat. You may need to experiment a bit with cooking time to work out exact textures.
Ground Meats Can Be Easier to Eat
A steak, even cut up into small pieces, is not necessarily easy to eat. Ground meats are often smaller and softer, which can make them much easier for your senior to eat. If it’s difficult to find certain meats in ground format, your grocery store’s butcher can grind up any cut of meat for you. Other forms of protein, like fish, cook to a soft texture and give your senior healthy fats that she needs in her diet.
Experiment a Bit
The long and short of it is that you’re likely going to need to experiment a bit with different cooking techniques, times, and even ingredients to hit the right menu for your senior. It’s really difficult to do this on your own, though. Something that might help is to bring in home care providers. They can let you know what they’ve seen work for other people and they can help you with the hands-on tasks, like cooking and making sure that your senior sits down to eat, that can make this even more difficult.
Talk to your senior’s doctor about what’s going on, especially if this trouble with chewing or swallowing is a new issue for your senior. There may be more going on.
IF YOU OR AN AGING LOVED ONE IS CONSIDERING HOME CARE SERVICES IN SMITHFIELD, NC, PLEASE CONTACT THE CARING STAFF AT SENIORS HELPING SENIORS TODAY. CALL (919) 761-5346.