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For seniors who experience a reduced appetite, eating enough can become a challenge. If your elderly loved one frequently finds it difficult to finish his or her meals or to eat three times a day, he or she may not be getting the calories or nutrients he or she needs to stay healthy. To help ensure that your loved one eats enough food every day, the Redondo Beach senior care experts at Home Care Assistance suggest trying the following strategies.
1. Set a Schedule
For many seniors, relying on a schedule can help make them feel safe and secure and are particularly reassuring for seniors with memory conditions. Setting up an eating schedule that includes both meals and snacks can make eating a predictable part of your loved one’s routine, encouraging them to eat more food and helping his or her body expect food at certain times.
2. Make Eating Easy
If your elderly relative has mobility or cognitive conditions, he or she may find it difficult to shop for or prepare food. As a result, your loved one may not eat because he or she does not have help. If other responsibilities make it difficult for you to regularly shop or cook for your loved one, consider hiring an hourly or live-in caregiver who can go to the grocery store and prepare nutritious meals for your relative.
3. Eat with Others
It is not uncommon for seniors to experience feelings of depression or loneliness, which research shows can reduce appetite. Make eating more enticing by arranging for visitors during meals. You may also consider asking an hourly or 24-hour caregiver in Redondo Beach to eat with your loved one or by bringing your loved one out to eat on a regular basis to help ease these feelings and increase his or her appetite.
4. Try Nutrient-Dense Foods
Foods that are nutrient-dense can provide more fat and calories for your senior relative in a small portion than other foods. Foods such as avocado, nut butter, cheese, yogurt, and olive oil can be added to many foods as a way to increase their nutritional value and calorie content, without adding too much food to the plate.
5. Keep Portions Small
When we age, our appetites naturally begin to diminish. So while it may be tempting to fill an entire plate for your loved one, too much food can be overwhelming, causing him or her to eat less or not at all. Using a smaller plate and serving small portions instead can help avoid this problem, and, if your loved one is still hungry, you can always offer second helpings.
Seniors who have cognitive and physical challenges will frequently have more difficulty eating enough healthy and nutritious foods. If you’re concerned about your elderly loved one’s eating habits, reach out to Home Care Assistance. Our professional caregivers are expertly trained to assist seniors with tasks that promote healthy habits, like grocery shopping, preparing healthy meals, and exercising regularly. To learn more about how our care services, including Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and dementia care in Redondo Beach, can benefit your elderly loved one, give a Care Manager a call at (310) 504-0506 and schedule a complimentary in-home consultation.