Remember family dinners at Grandma’s house? The enticing scents wafting through the kitchen would draw everyone in to gather at the table to take pleasure in her home cooking. There were always a lot of leftovers for future meals or late-night snacks.
However, for many seniors, these types of family meals are few and far between. The day-to-day reality is that there are frequently a number of obstacles to good nutrition for older adults, such as:
- Not wanting to bother with planning a nutritious meal for just one or two people
- Health conditions making it challenging to tend to the tasks of grocery shopping and cooking
- Medication side effects that impact appetite or how food tastes
- Decreased smell and/or taste
Overcoming the Hurdles to Good Nutrition for Older Adults
For older adults facing the challenges above, or any others, these suggestions will help.
- If loneliness during mealtime is an issue, seniors can network with friends for potluck dinners, trying out new recipes together, or going out for meals. Additional options include congregate meals at senior centers, Meals On Wheels, or a companion from Hearts at Home In-Home Care, a licensed Overland Park, KS home care provider.
- Grocery shopping and preparing meals might be taxing. There are a number of companies that now offer healthy and balanced, ready-made meals delivered directly to your home. Grocery delivery service or curbside pickup may also be ideal for seniors. A caregiver from Hearts at Home In-Home Care is also here to pick up groceries, prepare meals, and tidy up the kitchen afterwards.
- Loss of smell or taste might make foods unappealing, but adding herbs and spices to recipes will help. Make certain to limit salt, however. Try bright-colored vegetables and fruit in a variety of textures for textural and visual appeal.
- Review medications with the prescribing doctor to determine if there are alternative treatment options that won’t impact the senior’s appetite.
Simple Steps to Better Senior Nutrition
These recommendations will help ensure older adults are on the right track to a healthy diet.
- Select foods that are loaded with nutrients but lower in calories, such as vegetables and fruit, whole grains, seafood and lean meats, beans, nuts, seeds, and low-fat or fat-free dairy products.
- Skip (or at least limit) the amount of empty calorie foods, such as cookies and other baked goods, chips, candy, soda, and alcohol.
- Stay hydrated. Many seniors lose the sensation of thirst as they grow older, so it’s important to drink sufficient water daily, whether thirsty or not.
- Physical activity will help stimulate appetite. Consult with the doctor for a recommended fitness plan.
For additional helpful resources related to maximizing senior nutrition, as well as for hands-on assistance with overcoming the difficulties being faced, contact Hearts at Home In-Home Care, the Overland Park, KS home care experts at 913-440-4209. For a full list of all of the communities we serve, please visit our Service Area page.