Senior’s Nutrition and MealtimePosted on August 18, 2014 by ElderCare Resources in Blog, Caregiver Education, Healthy Living, Senior Living
Tips to Improve Our Senior’s Nutrition and Mealtime Experience
Malnourished seniors are more likely to fall, become disoriented, have an accident, or intensify any other illness. Negative eating experiences make it more difficult for seniors to get the nutrition they need. As caregivers, we need to take steps to facilitate a positive and nutritional mealtime experience. The following are just a few tips that could help you and your elderly loved ones enjoy mealtimes together:
♦ Take the time to communicate with senior parents. Don’t just assume that you know what is going on by just observing them.
♦Ask them about their food choices. Include something they genuinely like to eat with their meals. Have a menu-planning activity and give them some ownership and validation.
♦Try incorporating herbs and spices to make bland foods tastier.
♦Make dining a pleasant occasion. Turn off the “noise” box and take the time to enjoy dinner time with a loved one.
♦Human contact is necessary. If you are out of town, hire a caregiver who can follow prescribed diet goals, and can help your parent prepare a nutritious meal. Make sure the caregiver sits and eats with your loved one. And if you are in town, make plans to dine together.
♦Add contrasting primary color tableware, such as red and blue dishes. Studies show that red and blue dinnerware helps improve food and liquid intake in people who have Alzheimer’s. An article written by Jeremy Schwab for Boston University gives credit to the “red plate study” done by Boston University’s biopsychologist Alice Cronin-Golomb.
♦Food consistencies and appropriate diets may have to be incorporated if your senior parent has swallowing and chewing problems. If you are unsure, please encourage your loved one to see a doctor as soon as possible.
♦Difficulty in swallowing could cause aspiration pneumonia. In fact, swallowing difficulty could be fatal, according to news article posted by Shirley L. Smith on the National Parkinson’s Foundation website earlier this year.
♦If a parent has hand tremors while holding a spoon or a fork, try purchasing some high-tech adaptive flatware available on the market. Lift Labs offers adaptive eating utensils that make the eating process easier for those who have Parkinson’s and Essential Tremor. Their eating utensils are known as Liftware.
♦When dining out with older family members refrain from interrupting them by the using cell phones and other technology.
♦ Try scheduling your restaurant outing during quieter eating times. Peak times cause confusion and turmoil when dining out with a dementia patient. Find a quiet place away from waiters and patrons scurrying back and forth to the kitchen area or restrooms.
We hope some of these tips are useful. Enjoy your meals and make it a positive moment for all.
By: Ana P. DeLane, Senior Helpers
Published: Orlando Sentinel