Eating is the best way for your elderly family member to get the nutrients that she needs every day. But if eating isn't appealing or interesting to her, she might be avoiding it.
Offer Seconds and Thirds of Smaller Servings
Your elderly family member might be used to having a full serving when she eats a meal. But that can be overwhelming for her to try to eat in one sitting. The result can be that she avoids eating. If you make the servings smaller and give her the option to have seconds and thirds, that's a lot less intimidating. It can be surprising how much pressure there is in just having a meal. When you relieve some of that pressure, everything feels more relaxed.
Add Flavor without Adding Salt
If food no longer tastes flavorful to your aging family member, then it's not likely to be an appealing task. There are lots of ways to add flavor without adding sugar or salt, which are probably not a great idea in large amounts. Herbs and spices are something you might feel nervous about using, but you and your senior can let taste guide you. Play with flavors and experiment to find the combinations that taste the best.
Keep Snacks and Meals Easy to Access
Something else that you're likely to notice is that your elderly family member may not necessarily be operating on the same type of eating schedule that she may have used in the past. Appetite fluctuates with age, with health conditions, and even with medications. One way to account for this is to make snacks and meals easier for your elderly family member to access. Senior care providers can really help with this because they can prep meals and snacks, even cooking on demand for your aging adult.
Avoid the Lonesome Eating Trap
Lots of times the social component of eating gets overlooked. Many aging family members who eat alone feel isolated and lonely. Lives are busy and you as a caregiver are definitely busy, but you need to eat, too. Sit down and eat with your aging family member. If you're not able to be there, then it's still a good idea to make sure that she has company during meals. Home care providers are excellent mealtime companions.
You and your elderly family member may need to try a variety of different techniques to find the combination that helps her to eat regularly. When you do find a system that works, keep using it. Malnutrition can lead to other problems for your senior that neither of you want her to experience.
IF YOU OR AN AGING LOVED-ONE ARE CONSIDERING SENIOR CARE IN WAKE FOREST, NC, PLEASE CONTACT THE CARING STAFF AT SENIORS HELPING SENIORS TODAY. CALL (919) 761-5346.