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Good Senior Nutrition Is At Times Difficult To Achieve. Here Are Some Of Caregiver’s Top Methods To Handle This Common Issue.

For most of us, nothing beats sitting down to a delicious, home-cooked meal – the comfort of the smells and tastes, and the satisfying feeling after consuming it. But for many older adults, particular health issues can make it difficult to enjoy food or prevent them from being able to shop for healthy foods – sometimes leading to malnutrition. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration addresses the following senior nutrition problems, and solutions for each:

  • Chewing difficulties: For older adults who are unable to chew food well, fresh fruits and vegetables as well as meats can cause a problem. The FDA suggests substituting with the following:
    • In place of fresh fruit, try fruit juice, applesauce, or soft, canned fruit such as peaches and pears.
    • Rather than raw vegetables, try cooked, mashed vegetables or vegetable juices.
    • Instead of large cuts of meat, try ground meat, eggs, cheese, milk, yogurt or other dairy products.
    • Replace sliced bread with cooked cereals, rice, bread pudding and soft cookies.
  • Upset stomach: An overabundance of gas, acid reflux, and other stomach problems may cause seniors to avoid foods they think cause the problem. As a result, they could be missing out on critical nutrients, such as vitamins, calcium, protein and fiber. The FDA suggests:
    • Rather than drinking milk, try dairy foods that are less likely to upset the stomach, such as yogurt, cream soups, pudding, or cheese.
    • Substitute vegetable juices, carrots and potatoes for vegetables such as cabbage or broccoli which are harder to digest.
    • Replace fresh fruit with soft canned fruits or fruit juice.
  • Inability to shop: Seniors who have given up the car keys or are experiencing other mobility issues often struggle with getting out to shop for themselves. When this results in a senior nutrition barrier, the FDA recommends:
    • Asking a local store to deliver groceries to the senior.
    • Requesting help with shopping from a local church, synagogue or other volunteer organization.
    • Seeing if a family member or neighbor can help with shopping.
    • Enlisting the assistance of a professional home care agency, such as Caregivers by WholeCare.
  • Unable to cook: Difficulties with cooking can result from cognitive issues such as Alzheimer’s disease, problems with holding cooking utensils or with standing for long periods of time. If an inability to cook is an issue:
    • Try cooking prepackaged dinners or reheating precooked meals in a microwave oven.
    • Engage the services of a home care agency, Caregivers by WholeCare, whose caregivers plan and prepare healthy meals in the comfort of the senior’s home.
  • Appetite loss: Older adults who live alone may feel lonely at mealtimes, which can result in a loss of appetite. They may also decide it’s too much trouble to cook for just themselves, or a prescribed medication may change the way food tastes. For problems such as these, try:
    • Eating meals with family and friends whenever possible.
    • Attending group meal programs provided through local senior programs.
    • Discussing medication side effects with the doctor.
    • Contacting a professional in-home care agency, such as Caregivers by WholeCare, to arrange for a companion to prepare meals and make meal time a social activity.

Getting adequate nutrition is important regardless of age. If your loved one is struggling with age-related senior nutrition obstacles, contact Nashville’s Caregivers by WholeCare at (615)298-9201. We can plan and prepare nutritious, delicious meals and help improve your loved one’s nutrition in a variety of ways!

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