Many seniors struggle to maintain good nutrition. Changes to routine, loss of appetite, restricted social life, medical issues, and a need for fewer calories than they had when they were more active can all make it hard to eat well. For those of us with older parents, this can be worrying. You might notice that your loved ones are fatigued, weak, losing weight, or that their mood has dropped, which can all be signs of poor nutrition. If you want to help them to make improvements, here are some of the things that you can do.
How many calories your parent needs will depend on their size, lifestyle, and other factors, and getting more information about their specific calorific and nutritional needs will help you to offer them support. They probably won’t need as many calories as you do, but they may need more of certain nutrients. Having all the information means you don’t risk trying to overfeed them, while still missing out on what they need the most.
It’s also possible that there’s a medical reason for their poor nutrition, such as a swallowing problem. A visit to the doctor can rule things out, or make sure they are getting the treatment that they need.
Also Read: What is INNER LINE PERMIT (ILP)?
Consider Assisted Living
If your parent or parents are struggling to eat well, there might be other things that they are struggling with too. It can be hard to offer them the care and support they need, which makes a move to a St Louis assisted living community a great idea. At an assisted living facility they’ll have access to regular assistance, an improved social life, which can help encourage eating and boost appetite, and chef-made food that meets their nutritional needs.
Make Eating a Social Activity
If your parent has lost their partner, or their social life has declined, eating alone might feel very lonely and they might struggle to enjoy food. Try to eat with them when you can, even taking them out and inviting them to your home. You could also encourage them to reach out to old friends for lunch dates or to check in with other family members.
Sometimes, eating is more important than what we eat. If your parents have lost their appetites and interest in food, you might find that they are more likely to eat treats and unhealthy old favorites. Make sure they have healthy snacks to hand and encourage balance as much as possible but make compromises if it means they can still find enjoyment in food.
People struggling with their appetite can find large meals overwhelming and off-putting. The idea of a huge plate of heavy food might be quite upsetting to older people. Instead, focus on little and often. A range of nutritionally balanced snacks and lite meals can be much easier to eat and still help with calorific and nutritional needs.
Older adults can face a huge range of changes. Their routines change, they face loss, they become less active, and they face increasing medical needs. All of this can make eating more difficult. But good nutrition is essential to a healthy lifestyle and eating well can help them to stay strong and healthy, and face all of those other changes more positively.