Good nutrition is one of the most important things that will keep your parent healthy and happy as they age. It can help your loved one maintain a healthy weight, stay energized and get the nutrients they need. It can also lower the risk of developing chronic health conditions like diabetes and heart disease. You may not be able to control every part of your parent’s diet, but her are some pointers that can keep things on a healthy track:
Keep it fresh.
Try to stock your loved one’s kitchen with foods that are fresh and healthy, but easy to prepare. Thankfully, there are many healthy options for meals and snacks that can be prepared simply in the microwave. This can be especially important if you are worried that your parent can’t safely use a gas stove. Also, frozen meals and canned soups can be safer because food stays fresher longer. Make a list of your parent’s favorite foods and try to keep them on hand. Share the list with other family members or caretakers so they can help keep things in stock.
Dinner’s on you!
For many seniors, a reduced appetite is a normal part of aging, so try to make food easy and interesting. Of course, the best part of eating is sharing a meal with a loved one, so try to schedule visits around meal times or take your parent out to eat for a fun excursion if they are able.
Reduced thirst is also a natural part of aging and dehydration is a common problem for the elderly. Make sure your loved one drinks lots of water and other healthy liquids like herbal tea or fruit juice. Every person’s needs are different, so if you’re not sure how much water is enough, ask your parent’s doctor.
Read the label.
If you suspect that your parent is eating food past its expiration date, do a quick check of the fridge and cabinets when you visit to check dates and look at whether food is stored in proper containers. When possible, mark containers with dates so that others know when they were opened. Toss the items that are expired or look stale.
Get it delivered.
Look into your parent’s eligibility for Meals on Wheels or similar programs in your area. Or, have food delivered from local restaurants. If your parents enjoy a variety of foods, try having different theme nights like Mexican Mondays or Thai Tuesdays.
Home Care Angels provides assistance with daily activities, such as dressing, eating and personal care, from home service aides. Please call 847.824.5221 to speak with one of our Client Care Coordinators if you would like more information on in-home care.