If your aging parents or other relatives over 65 live near Boston in Lexington, Burlington, or Bedford, they have access to some of the premium doctors, hospitals, and senior care services in the USA. Even so, we’d all rather keep our loved ones as independent as possible and avoid lengthy hospital stays. One of the best ways of doing that is to ensure proper senior nutrition.
As discussed in Part 1, senior nutrition can be challenged by other aging issues like loss of appetite or sense of smell, inability to plan and prepare healthy meals, and days on end of eating alone. As a caregiver or cheerleader for your aging parent, knowing these issues you can help them make better food choices and get the help or companionship that’s needed to see that they aren’t skipping meals or eating junk.
Senior Nutrition Caregiver Guidelines
First, take into account any dental, appetite or digestive issues.
If they have trouble chewing, instead of serving tough cuts of meat, try using ground beef or turkey, eggs, and other softer proteins.
Avoid foods that cause gassiness. Common culprits are beans. cabbage, onions, celery, raisins, and dried fruit. Carbonated beverages and artificial sweeteners can also cause gas or bloating.
Make sure they have can and jar openers they can use easily. Give reminders over the phone about specific healthy food they like, and reminders not to skip meals.
One of the best things you can do is make sue you or an in-home care companion helps plan meals and eats with the elderly person. Eating alone has been shown to lead to loss of appetite, poor nutrition, and depression in too many cases.
Healthy Meal Planning for Seniors
- Tufts Center’s My Plate for Older Adults recommends filling half the plate with colorful vegetables and fruit.
For heart health, switch to skim or low-fat (1%) milk.
Add fiber to the diet with fortified whole grains and cereals.
Compare sodium on food labels for soup, bread, and frozen meals.
Encourage frequent beverages, mostly water and decaf tea or coffee. Dehydration is a common issue among the elderly. Non-diabetics can drink juice in addition to water. Ask their doctor if you’re not sure.
Senior Nutrition Resources for Caregivers in Metrowest Boston
The Meals on Wheels program brings nutritious prepared midday meals to eligible homebound senior age 60 or older and their spouses. For Meals on Wheels service information in Lexington, Carlisle, Acton, Arlington, and Bedford check out Massachusetts Resources .org.
This may seem like too much info, but with healthy senior nutrition your loved one should be able to stay at home longer and suffer fewer serious setbacks. And that means fewer worries for you. If you have your own questions about companion services that include meal prep or transportation to senior meals, contact MinuteWomen Home Care.
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