Remember family dinners at Grandma’s house? The tantalizing scents wafting through the kitchen would draw everyone in to assemble at the table to take pleasure in her home cooking. There were always lots of leftovers for future meals or late-night snacks.
Yet for a number of older adults, these kinds of family meals are infrequent. The day-to-day reality is that healthy eating for seniors may be a challenge due to:
- Not wanting to bother with planning a nutritious meal for just one or two people
- Health conditions making it hard to tend to the tasks of grocery shopping and cooking
- Medication side effects that impact appetite or how food tastes
- Lack of taste and/or smell
Overcoming the Hurdles to Good Senior Nutrition
For older adults facing the difficulties above, or any others, these recommendations can help.
- If loneliness during mealtime is an issue, seniors can network with friends for potluck dinners, trying out new recipes together, or going out for meals. Other options include Meals On Wheels, congregate meals at senior centers, or a companion from Absolute Companion Care.
- Grocery shopping and preparing meals may be challenging. There are a number of companies that now offer wholesome, ready-made meals delivered directly to your door. Grocery delivery service or curbside pickup can also be helpful for seniors. A caregiver from Absolute Companion Care is also available to pick up groceries, prepare meals, and clean up the kitchen afterwards.
- Loss of taste or smell may make foods unappetizing, but adding herbs and spices to recipes can certainly help. Make sure to limit salt, however. Try bright-colored vegetables and fruit in a variety of textures for visual and textural appeal.
- Review medications along with the prescribing physician to determine if there are other treatment options that won’t affect the senior’s appetite.
Easy Steps to Better Senior Nutrition
These tips can help ensure older adults are on the right track to a healthier diet.
- Select foods that are loaded with nutrients but lower in calories, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meats and seafood, beans, seeds, nuts, and fat-free or low-fat dairy products.
- Skip (or at least limit) the quantity of empty calorie foods, such as cookies and other baked goods, candy, chips, soda, and alcohol.
- Stay hydrated. Many seniors lose the sensation of thirst as they get older, so it’s important to drink lots of water throughout the day, whether thirsty or not.
- Physical activity will help increase appetite. Speak with the doctor for a recommended exercise program.
To obtain additional helpful resources related to enhancing healthy eating for seniors, as well as hands-on help with overcoming the challenges being faced, contact Absolute Companion Care at 410-357-9640 to learn more about all of our Glencoe long term care options for seniors at home. For a full list of all of the communities we serve, please visit our Service Area page.