Ways to Encourage Seniors to Eat
Getting enough to eat can be difficult for seniors. They may be struggling with loneliness, side effects from medications, diminished senses of taste and smell, a lower metabolic rate, and limits to physical activity, all of which can contribute to a senior’s disinterest in food. How can we encourage our loved ones to eat, and thus protect them from the dangers of malnutrition?
- You will want to make sure that any weight loss or loss of appetite isn’t the result of an underlying medical issue. It would be wise to discuss this with the senior’s primary care physician first.
- Your loved one should have as much control over their own eating as possible. Ask them to give suggestions and help with grocery shopping. Make some of their favorite recipes.
- Make sure there is plenty of water available 24/7. In addition to taste and smell, we also lose our sense of thirst as we age. To prevent dehydration, it is important to provide easy access to water in hard-to-miss places. For example, leaving bottled water around the home on counters and tables is an easy reminder to the senior to have a drink. They can also get their fluids through popsicles, soup, and fruit juice if those are more palatable.
- Rather than trying to push a senior to eat large quantities of food at meals, provide lots of small, frequent meals throughout the day. Lots of smaller meals may be easier to manage for a senior who is already having trouble with their appetite.
- Provide nutrient-dense foods. Nutrient-dense foods provide more calories and nutrients per serving than other foods. For example: nut butters, avocado, olive oil, cheese, and yogurt can easily be added to many meals.
- Make eating a social experience. If it is depression that has dampened their appetite, adding a social element to meals may help. Take them out to eat, or arrange for meals to be shared with friends or other family members.
- Don’t rely on salt alone to enhance the taste of food. You can also try lemon juice, spices, and herbs for flavor.
- Keep easy-to-eat, nutritious snacks around the house like fruit, granola bars, and sliced cheese.
- Encourage walks and other forms of exercise to stimulate appetite.
- Finally, should they require a greater amount of assistance, consider getting in touch with a home care agency to arrange for help with meals.Please contact First Class Home Care Inc. at 1-855-636-9995 for further information and assistance.
- At First Class Home Care Inc. we carefully help you select the right Care Manager for you. If nutrition and a well balanced diet is of a primary concern to you many of our Care Managers are wonderful cooks and can help you with your grocery shopping, menu planning and meal prep. This way you can be assured that not only are your meals prepared to help you with your nutritional health they are also prepared to your personal liking.