“It’s hot outside and nothing sounds exciting for lunch!”
“I don’t want to heat up the kitchen by turning on the stove.”
The summer heat may be a challenge for today’s appetite, but research conducted for the Home Instead Senior Care network reveals there are ten mealtime challenges facing our senior’s eating habits every day.
Please check this list to determine if your senior loved one may be facing an obstacle to eating healthy.
1. Lack of companionship during mealtimes. If you can’t be there to dine with a loved one regularly, look for alternative options such as friends and neighbors.
2. Cooking for one. Freeze most any type of leftover including sliced and seeded fruit by placing it in plastic containers or freezer bags. Buy your senior healthier, low-sodium dinners for one.
3. Eating nutritious meals. Buy fresh, when possible, or frozen foods including fruits and vegetables. Frequent farmer’s markets when in season. Your loved one may enjoy a morning visit to the market.
4. Grocery shopping for one. Transportation can be a big issue for seniors. The New York City Department for the Aging has a list of transportation services and resources available to Manhattan seniors. Many of Manhattans senior centers also provide bus transportation to and from their sites where your senior could join a sponsored shopping trip with others in the community. Caregivers also can encourage senior loved ones to look to neighborhood support systems when possible.
5. Eating three meals a day. So many seniors are on prescription medications that must be taken with or without food. Coordinate the food plan with the medication plan.
6. High expense of cooking for one. Encourage shared meals when possible – your loved one will receive the benefit of reduced costs of meals as well as companionship. Check out the New York City Department for the Aging website at www.nyc.gov for a listing of senior centers in Manhattan, many which offer affordable meals for older adults, as well as the home-delivered meal program.
7. Relying too much on convenience food. Encourage your older adult to meet with a nutritionist or talk with the doctor to learn how to read labels.
8. Loss of appetite. Help older adults make mealtimes an event, which can make dining more appealing. Pull out a favorite recipe, help that older adult prepare a meal, get out the good dishes and decorate the table with real or artificial flowers.
9. Eating too much food. Or, eating too much of the wrong types of foods. A structured shopping list may help encourage healthier choices.
10. Eating too little food. Maybe a trip to a favorite restaurant will encourage enjoyment of a favorite dish. Or, checking with a health care professional to learn about supplemental products designed for the elderly.
If you would like additional resources on healthy eating for seniors, please visit www.caregiverstress.com to learn more about the Home Instead Senior Care network’s Craving CompanionshipSM program, designed to assist seniors and their families with nutrition challenges.
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