The majority of us are eager to take a moment and enjoy a delectable meal – the comforting smells and tastes, the pleasing feeling of a full stomach. For a lot of older adults, though, a number of health problems can prevent their enjoyment of meals or even their ability to shop for nourishing foods, which can contribute to malnutrition in many instances. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has several remedies to some of the most widespread senior nutrition issues, including:
Trouble with chewing: For older individuals who have difficulties with chewing food well, meats, fresh vegetables, and fruits could cause a problem. The FDA proposes the following replacements:
- In place of fresh fruit, try canned pears and peaches, fruit juice, or applesauce.
- Instead of raw veggies, consider vegetable juices or cooked or mashed veggies.
- Rather than large pieces of meat, try eggs, ground meat, cheese, yogurt, milk, and other milk products.
- Rather than sliced bread, try rice, soft cookies, bread pudding, or cooked cereals.
Upset stomach: Excess gas, acid reflux problems, and various other gastrointestinal problems could potentially cause older adults to avoid foods they think may possibly cause a problem. Due to this, they might be passing up on crucial nutrients, such as fiber, vitamins, protein, and calcium. The FDA advises:
- Try dairy foods other than milk that may not irritate the stomach, such as cheese, cream soups, pudding, or yogurt.
- Try vegetable juices, carrots and potatoes, which are easier to digest, in the place of vegetables such as cabbage or broccoli.
- Exchange fresh fruit with soft canned fruits or fruit juice.
Shopping problems: Many seniors who can no longer drive or who experience other mobility problems experience difficulty shopping for themselves. When the inability to shop for groceries becomes a senior nutrition hurdle, the FDA suggests:
- Checking with a local grocery store or market to see if food can be delivered to the house.
- Requesting volunteer shopping assistance from a nearby church, synagogue or volunteer center.
- Bringing in the help of a family member or neighbor.
- Partnering with an area senior care company, such as Advanced Home Health Care, for grocery shopping assistance.
Inability to cook: Challenges with cooking food can result from cognitive concerns like Alzheimer’s disease, difficulty with handling cooking utensils or with standing for long periods of time. In the event that inability to cook is a complication:
- Try using a microwave to warm up frozen dinners as well as other frozen foods or meals that are prepackaged at the store.
- Request help from a local program such as Meals on Wheels. If you are unsure of local meal preparation options for seniors, contact us for recommendations.
Loss of appetite: Older adults who live independently can feel lonesome at mealtimes, which can lead to reduced appetite. They might also not feel like cooking a meal for just themselves, or medications that they take could be affecting the way the food tastes. For concerns such as these, the FDA advises:
- Eating meals with loved ones if possible.
- Taking part in group meal programs provided through local senior centers.
- Talking to the physician about whether or not medication could be causing a problem.
- Contacting a nearby home care agency, like Advanced Home Health Care, for a companion to both prepare meals and make meal time more social.
Good nutrition is very important, regardless of age. In the event your senior family member is struggling to conquer age-related nutrition barriers, contact the experts in senior home care in Burlington and the surrounding areas at Advanced Home Health Care. We are able to provide tips and community connections to improve senior nutrition. Reach out to us at 319.753.6270 for more information on our senior care services.