Remember family dinners at Grandma’s house? The enticing scents wafting out from the kitchen would draw everyone in to assemble at the table to enjoy her home cooking. There were always plenty of leftovers for future meals or late-night snacks.
However, for many older adults, these kinds of family meals are few in number. The day-to-day reality may be such that good senior nutrition is impacted by a number of obstacles, such as:
- Not wanting to bother with planning a nutritious meal for just one or two people
- Health issues making it hard to tend to the tasks of grocery shopping and cooking
- Medication side effects that impact appetite or how food tastes
- Loss of taste and/or smell
Overcoming the Hurdles to Good Senior Nutrition
For seniors facing the challenges above, or any others, these suggestions will help.
- If loneliness during mealtime is an issue, seniors can network with friends for potluck dinners, testing new recipes together, or going out for meals. Other choices include congregate meals at senior centers, Meals On Wheels, or a companion from Grace Home Care.
- Grocery shopping and preparing meals may be challenging. There are a number of companies that now offer healthy, ready-made meals delivered right to your home. Grocery delivery service or curbside pickup can also be great for seniors. A caregiver from Grace Home Care is also available to pick up groceries, prepare meals, and clean up the kitchen afterwards.
- Loss of taste or smell may make foods unappealing, 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 textural and visual appeal.
- Review medications with the prescribing physician to find out if there are alternative treatment options that will not impact the older adult’s appetite.
Simple Steps to Better Senior Nutrition
These guidelines can help ensure seniors are on the right track to a healthier diet.
- Select foods that are full of nutrients but lower in calories, such as vegetables and fruit, whole grains, seafood and lean meats, beans, seeds, nuts, and fat-free or low-fat dairy products.
- Skip (or at least limit) the amount of empty calorie foods, like cookies along with other baked goods, chips, candy, soda, and alcohol.
- Stay hydrated. Many older adults lose the feeling of thirst as they grow older, so it’s crucial to drink plenty of water throughout the day, whether thirsty or not.
- Physical activity often helps stimulate appetite. Talk with the doctor for an ideal exercise program.
For more helpful resources related to improving senior nutrition, as well as hands-on help with overcoming the obstacles being faced, contact Grace Home Care at 785-286-2273 to learn about our award-winning home care and memory care in Topeka, KS and nearby areas.