Many seniors struggle to get enough important nutrients in their bodies to keep them healthy. Essential nutrients help your elderly parent’s body maintain its strength, fight off viruses, and provide energy to do the things your parent wants to do. As a caregiver, you might be doing your best to provide your parent with the best healthy foods, but it just doesn’t seem as though she eats them or enjoys them. She may not even know why. Finding the causes of poor eating can help you find the solutions needed to ensure your parent has a healthy diet.
- Teeth and/or Gum Pain. If your parent has pain while chewing, you or your elderly care provider might have noticed your parent has stopped
eating chewier foods such as cooked meat. Meat is often the first part of a diet that seniors will neglect when their teeth or gums are struggling to chew and break down the meat. This can cause your parent to stop getting the protein and iron she needs. Taking your parent in for her biannual dental visits will help keep her oral health in top shape so she can enjoy all kinds of food.
- Chronic Diseases. If your parent is battling a chronic disease that restricts certain types of food she can enjoy (such as avoiding fatty foods because of a heart condition), she could be too restrictive. While reducing fat in a person’s diet is a smart health choice, eliminating all fats can damage skin, hair, and the immune system. Have your elderly care provider work with your parent to make sure she still gets healthy fats in her diet, such as fats from avocados, fatty fish and olive oil.
- Finances. Living on a limited fixed budget can be difficult and your parent may struggle with spending money on the food she needs. She may try to get the most food for her budget, but may not be purchasing healthy and fresh food, which are better for her health. Sometimes elderly are also attached to certain retailers that may not be best for their budget just because they know how to get to the location, and they know where everything is at. Having your elderly care provider bring your parent to local farmer’s markets or bulk stores can help her find new ways to stretch her food budget.
- Lack of Appetite. A person’s metabolism slows down as she ages, and some physical changes may also take away the pleasures that used to be experienced while eating. If your parent has lost some of her taste and smell, eating may not be as enjoyable as it used to be. One way to encourage good eating, is to make it a more sociable time. When possible, join your parent for a meal or schedule your elderly care provider to join her at lunch. Eating with someone you enjoy can increase the pleasure of food again.
Whatever is causing your parent to reduce her food intake, don’t let her fade away. If some simple changes at home don’t get her back on track with healthy and consistent eating, discuss options with her doctor about supplements and doing a thorough exam to make sure nothing more serious is going on in her body.
If you or an aging loved one needs Elderly Care in Lincoln, CA, remember Senior Home Care Services. Call us at (916) 514-7006 for more information.