Nutrition is an important factor in your loved one’s plan for a healthy lifestyle. Yet, many older adults experience hardships that can place them at risk for malnutrition. Left undetected, an unhealthy diet can lead to serious consequences that can include a lowered immune system, reduced cognitive functioning and muscular weakness that can lead to falls. Fortunately, you can help your loved one to prevent these problems by knowing how to watch for the signs that show they may need assistance with following a healthy diet.
Watch for Physical Discomfort
As a person ages, new health conditions can interfere with their ability to enjoy meals. For example, tooth and mouth pain could cause your loved one to choose soft foods that may not always be packed with nutrition. Seniors who experience difficulty swallowing may also skip meals due to the fear of choking. If you suspect your loved one may not be eating well due to a physical cause, help them to discuss the problem with their physician who may be able to suggest changes to their treatment plan. Hiring a caregiver for part-time home care may also be an option, ensuring that your loved one eats healthy meals on a regular basis.
Identify Barriers to Meal Preparation
After a recent illness or injury, senior adults may need assistance preparing meals or transportation to the grocery store. Those who are on a special diet may find it tedious to prepare a meal with limited salt or other flavorings. Try to identify where your loved one’s struggles with meal planning and preparation may occur and arrange for them to have the proper assistance before malnutrition occurs. Rearranging the kitchen to make cooking utensils more accessible, planning for transportation to the store and inviting a meal planner to the senior’s house are all ways to eliminate common barriers to healthy eating.
Observe During Shared Mealtimes
Seniors who cherish their independence may not always be forthcoming about their struggles with eating. For this reason, it is essential to share a few meals together and observe for signs of trouble. As you eat together, talk about their enjoyment of the meal and note any complaints. Not only will this give you insight into your loved one’s eating habits, but the social element will also encourage your loved one to make an effort toward eating healthy at each meal.
Arranging for Help
If you believe an aging parent or loved one needs assistance with grocery shopping, meal preparation or other activities of daily living, reach out to Home Care Assistance of Vancouver today. We provide home care Vancouver families trust, and have a team of highly trained and compassionate caregivers who are available twenty four hours a day, seven days a week. To request more information or an in-home consultation, call 778-279-3634 today.