Many of us cannot wait to sit down and eat a delicious meal – the enjoyable fragrances, the tastes, the satisfying sensation of a full stomach. For numerous older adults, however, a wide variety of health difficulties can restrict their enjoyment of foods or even their means to shop for nutritious foods, frequently causing malnutrition. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration offers several solutions to some of the most common elderly nutrition troubles, including:
Chewing problems: For seniors who have difficulty with chewing food well, meats and fresh vegetables and even some fruits can cause a challenge. The FDA proposes the following substitutes:
- In place of fresh fruit, try fruit juice, applesauce, or canned peaches and pears instead.
- Rather than raw veggies, try vegetable juices or mashed and cooked vegetables.
- In the place of large pieces of meat, try ground meat, eggs, milk, cheese, yogurt and other dairy products instead.
- As an alternative to sliced bread, try cooked cereals, rice, bread pudding and soft cookies.
Stomach upset: Gas, acid reflux, and other gastrointestinal problems may cause older adults to avoid foods they think could possibly cause a problem. As a result, they could be missing out on essential nutrients, such as vitamins, calcium, fiber, and protein. The FDA proposes:
- Instead of drinking milk, try different dairy foods that might not irritate the stomach, such as cream soups, pudding, yogurt, or cheese.
- Try vegetable juices, carrots and potatoes, which are much easier to digest, in place of vegetables such as cabbage or broccoli.
- Substitute fresh fruit with soft canned fruits or fruit juice.
Shopping troubles: A number of older adults who are unable to drive or experience other mobility problems have difficulty managing the task of shopping. When the inability to shop for food becomes a nutrition hindrance, the FDA suggests:
- Working with a local home care agency, such as Live Well at Home in Roseville CA, for grocery shopping assistance.
- Asking for volunteer shopping support from a local church, synagogue or volunteer center.
- Bringing in the help of a family member or neighbor.
Inability to cook: Trouble with cooking food can result from cognitive concerns such as Alzheimer’s disease, struggles with holding cooking implements or with standing upright for prolonged periods of time. If the inability to cook is a dilemma:
- Try making use of a microwave to heat TV dinners, or other frozen foods and pre-made foods obtained from the store.
- Ask for cooking assistance from a home care agency, like Live Well at Home, whose Roseville caregivers can plan and prepare balanced meals in the senior’s home.
Loss of appetite: Older individuals who live independently can feel lonely at mealtimes, which can bring about appetite loss. They may also not feel up to preparing a meal for simply themselves, or medications that they take may be having an effect on how the food tastes. For problems such as these, the FDA advises:
- Talking with the doctor about whether or not prescription medications may be causing a problem.
- Getting in touch with a local home care agency, such as Live Well at Home, for a companion to both prepare meals and make meal time a more social time.
Good nutrition is vitally important, no matter the age. If a senior loved one is struggling to overcome age-related nutrition barriers, contact the professional caregivers Roseville CA seniors deserve. Live Well at Home can plan and prepare appealing, nourishing meals and help improve your loved one’s nutrition today!