Seniors often experience changes in their appetites that require caregivers to make adjustments in order to persuade their older parents to eat. Although seniors tend to eat less as they get older, you should be concerned if your aging loved one suddenly refuses meals. Your loved one should be getting the nutrition he or she needs from a healthy diet. Figuring out why your loved one won’t eat can help you make sure he or she doesn’t become malnourished.
Find Out if Your Loved One Is in Pain
There are several types of pain that could affect your loved one’s eating patterns. Dental issues, such as poorly fitting dentures, could be making it physically uncomfortable to eat. Your loved one might have digestive issues as well. Watch for signs that pain is a problem. If so, have your loved one’s doctor or dentist check it out.
Check to See if Meal Prep Is a Problem
Your loved one may eat only things he or she can find already prepared. If you notice the pantry or refrigerator never goes bare, your loved one may be having difficulty with cooking. You can make meal prep easier by preparing some homemade meals for your loved one to freeze and heat up. You can also hire a caregiver to pop in throughout the week to chop up vegetables for stews and other healthy meals.
A home caregiver can help your loved one plan and prepare nutritious meals. Living independently is important for seniors who want to maintain a high quality of life. For some, this simply means receiving help with tasks that have become more challenging to manage over time. Even when families have the best intentions, they may not have the time to provide the care their elderly loved ones need and deserve. If your loved one needs help for a few hours a day or a few days a week, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a trusted provider of respite care Castle Rock seniors can depend on.
Experiment with Different Meals
Your loved one may just need to have his or her food options adjusted. Certain health conditions can make it difficult to chew tough foods. Switching to steamed vegetables and other softer options might help. Your loved one may also need to have flavors or colors added to meals as his or her senses decrease. Use a lot of herbs and brightly colored vegetables to make things more interesting.
Trained in-home caregivers can provide expertise and additional support to encourage seniors to eat. Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same type of home care. Castle Rock families can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide individualized care plans to meet your elderly loved one’s unique care needs. Our holistic Balanced Care Method was designed to help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and our Cognitive Therapeutics Method offers mentally stimulating activities that can stave off cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia.
Big heavy meals are unappetizing to seniors who are already experiencing pain or illness. Try supplementing meals with snacks. Just make sure to keep them healthy so they serve as extensions of meals rather than replacements. If your loved one absolutely refuses to eat, you may need to move to liquid supplements or vitamins. These should only be used under guidance from your loved one’s physician.
Monitor How Much Your Loved One Eats at Mealtimes
A senior who is already in frail health can quickly become malnourished. Consider eating meals with your loved one, and arrange for someone to step in when you can’t be there. Consider keeping a meal log to track how much your loved one eats to see if there’s a pattern. For instance, your loved one may eat more at breakfast but need a light dinner. You’ll also feel better being able to track your loved one’s calorie intake so you can take further action if it becomes necessary.
Helping aging adults get proper nutrition when they don’t want to eat can be exhausting. If you’re the primary family caregiver for an elderly loved one and need additional assistance providing high-quality elderly home care, Home Care Assistance can help. We are a leading home care agency committed to changing the way seniors age. Trust Home Care Assistance to provide high-quality compassionate, professional home care for your loved one. Call one of our friendly Care Managers today at 720-580-5378.