Are you seeing a change in your elder's health and mental capacity? It might be a good time to check out the refrigerator and cupboards at your elder's house.
There are many reasons why elders begin to loose their appetites. Medications can cause it. Depression can also be a factor in whether your elder eats well or not. Physical ailments can make it harder for them to fix their own meals. Grief over the passing of a loved one can make it hard for them to want to cook for just themselves. Bad dental health can be a factor. Elders are also very thrifty and if they live on a fixed income, they may just cut back on food as a way to balance their budgets. As we age, our taste buds are just not as good at their job as they once were. So you can see, there are a host of reasons why your elder may be neglecting their nutrition.
If you suspect your elder is not eating well, take a look in their fridge. Look for outdated foods and just a lack of food entirely. Do they have some fresh fruit in the kitchen? Elders do need less calories but they still need a diet high in nutrition. In essence, their small portions need to be packed with nutrition. Fresh fruits/vegetables, proper protein, and whole grains can be a wonderful way to stay healthy.
Brain health and cognitive function relies on a good diet. Studies have found that the Mediterranean Diet is a good way to have a healthy body and retain your cognitive function. Fish has long been know as "brain food." Recent studies have concluded this to be true. So, if your elder is declining in health or mental capacity, encourage them to eat better and include fish in their diet.
One way to make sure they're getting good nutrition is to take them shopping. Encourage them to find good sources of protein while eating less red meats. Fish and legumes are high in protein and are wonderful for a senior diet. Beans are so good and tasty and can be made in big batches for freezing and eating later. Make sure they get some really good bread to eat. Olive oil is the best choice in the fats department. It's known to be good for those with heart conditions. Red wine or grape juice is also said to be very healthy in a diet and can stimulate the appetite.
Eating alone gets tiring really quickly. If you live near your elder, try to make a date with them at least once a week for a good meal. Encourage other family member to stop by with home-cooked or take-out meals. It is very easy to make a bit more at home and then hand deliver to them the next day, like a good casserole dish that is easily reheated in the microwave. Your elder will love having good food made with love by you.
Our sweet taste buds remain vibrant much longer than the others, so having some fresh fruit, yogurt and sherbets in their fridge will encourage them to eat. Dark chocolate is actually good for anyone in small doses. Research has found that it elevates our moods and can help reduce high blood pressure. Nuts are packed with good things and even a small amount eaten every day can improve your senior's nutrition.
I hope I've encouraged you to check out your elder's kitchen. Food and love have always had a close relationship in our family. How about yours?
If you or a family member is going through a crisis, I want you to know that you are not alone. The support and education you need is available at your fingertips from expert care professionals at Lutheran Homes of Michigan. You may talk to a real person who does have the answers, without any obligation by calling 989.652.3470 or by emailing
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