How to Persuade a Senior Loved One to Eat

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It’s important for seniors to eat a balanced diet for optimal health. However, many don’t enjoy eating as they age for a variety of reasons. Help your aging parent eat regularly with these tips.

Schedule a Dental Checkup

Eating may be extremely painful if your loved one has any dental issues. Abscessed teeth, cavities, or gum disease can make chewing food so painful that he or she may want to avoid eating altogether. Your parent should see a dentist at least twice a year to ensure good dental health and be encouraged to brush twice a day and floss regularly. If your loved one has dental problems or sores in the mouth, serve soft food while he or she undergoes treatment and heals. Soups, smoothies, mashed potatoes, oatmeal, and scrambled eggs are all healthy options that can be eaten without chewing.

Try Smaller Portions

If your loved one hasn’t been regularly eating, the sight of an entire meal on a plate may seem like too much. Try serving small portions cut up into bite-size pieces to encourage him or her to eat. If your loved one is eating only a small amount of food, make sure it’s nutritious and balanced with protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats. Talk with a doctor about the possibility of a supplement to ensure your loved one is getting the proper nutrients.

Helping a loved one get proper nutrition when he or she doesn’t want to eat can be exhausting, so it’s important for caregivers to make time to attend to their own wellbeing. Families who find it difficult to care for their aging loved ones without assistance can benefit greatly from professional respite care. Huntington, WV, family caregivers who need a break from their caregiving duties can turn to Home Care Assistance. Using our proprietary Balanced Care Method, our respite caregivers can encourage your loved one to eat well, exercise regularly, get plenty of mental and social stimulation, and focus on other lifestyle factors that promote longevity.

Add Fresh Herbs and Spices to Meals

Your parent will gradually lose some of the senses of smell and taste with age. While this is a normal part of the aging process, some medications and health conditions can make these losses more pronounced. Adding fresh herbs and spices to meals may make them more palatable. While adding salt, sugar, or fat can also make a meal taste better, these additions aren’t healthful. Try adding fresh basil to an Italian meal or a squeeze of citrus over chicken or fish to enhance the flavor.

Encourage Dining Companions

Your loved one grew up eating with a family and went on to feed a busy family of his or her own. Talking with others while eating makes meals more enjoyable. If your loved one lives alone, he or she may not want to eat alone. Arrange for family members, friends, or neighbors to eat a meal regularly with your parent. Additionally, senior centers may offer opportunities to eat with groups several times a week.

A trained caregiver can provide additional support and companionship to encourage your loved one to eat. Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same type of elder care. Huntington families can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide individualized care plans to meet your elderly loved one’s unique care needs. Our holistic Balanced Care Method was designed to help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and our Cognitive Therapeutics Method offers mentally stimulating activities that can stave off cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia.

Make Meals Ahead of Time

Your parent may not enjoy cooking or be able to cook anymore. If the task of cooking seems like too much, he or she may just opt to not eat. Try preparing some meals ahead of time that can be easily reheated. Services such as those provided by Silver Cuisine, Meals on Wheels, and Magic Kitchen are another option. These organizations can deliver warm meals to ensure your loved one has nutritious food if cooking isn’t an option.

Professional caregivers with training in nutrition and healthy habits can be a wonderful source of information and encouragement for seniors who have lost interest in eating. Maintaining a high quality of life can be challenging for some seniors, but professional caregivers can help them obtain this goal. Families can trust Huntington senior home care experts to help their elderly loved ones focus on lifestyle choices that increase the chances of living a longer and healthier life. Call Home Care Assistance today at (304) 521-2909 to learn about our high-quality in-home care services.