Keeping Seniors Fed Well Is Not Just About the Food
As people get older, it’s normal for them to experience some loss of appetite. This is a natural response to the body slowing down. When people are less active, they need less food for energy. However, sometimes a loss of appetite or a general disinterest in eating can become a more serious matter that can even be life threatening. In addition to the natural decline in appetite, sometimes there are other factors that affect a person’s desire to eat. For example, food may lose some of its flavor due to changes in the taste buds that occur when a person ages. Certain medications can also affect the appetite or cause stomach upset, making seniors not want to eat. But, in some cases, the act of eating has become unappealing because of psychological factors.
Social Aspect of a Meal
Think about the last time you ate a meal alone. Was it as enjoyable as eating with your spouse or a friend? Probably not. Now imagine being a senior who lives alone, and therefore eats the majority of their meals alone. Not very appealing, is it? Experts say that spending too much time alone can actually be detrimental to cognitive function in seniors. Studies show that seniors who have a higher rate of social activity also have the lowest levels of mental decline.
Of course, eating with family and friends might be the most enjoyable option for your parent, but that isn’t always possible. Hiring a home care provider to visit your parent during at least one meal time per day could make eating more enjoyable again. Your parent may begin looking forward to eating lunch while chatting with the home care provider. As an added benefit, the home care provider can also prepare the meal if your parent has difficulty doing so.
The Visual Art of a Meal
Try looking at the meals you or your parent’s home care provider makes from your parent’s perspective. If they don’t have much of an appetite, a huge plate of food might be intimidating. Instead, offer smaller portions from smaller dishes. Pay attention to the presentation of the meal, too. Watch any cooking show and the professional chefs will tell you that the way a meal is presented is just as important as the taste. If the food doesn’t look good, there’s little incentive to eat it. Also, think about the way the place your parent eats looks. Instead of eating from a TV tray in the living room, ask your parent’s home care provider to set the table nicely and encourage your parent to eat there. A pleasant atmosphere that’s conducive to eating could spark your parent’s interest.
Making eating a more socially and visually appealing activity could be the key to increasing your parent’s caloric intake. Hiring a home care provider can make eating meals enjoyable again. A home care provider gives your parent a friendly face to look forward to, someone to talk to, and someone who can prepare visually appealing meals.
If you or an aging senior in your life are considering hiring professional home care in Laguna Beach, CA, please contact the caring staff at In Home Care Solutions today. Call (949) 239-0488 to speak with our caring staff.
Dr. Kay got her medical education in Brazil.
Dr. Kay also has a master degree in Film and Television from UCLA and has been an adviser for medical television shows.
Dr. Kay is very active in the Health Industry. She is a member of the American Board of Home Care, the National Association of Home Care, CAHSAH, California Association of Health Services at Home. She co-chairs the education committee for the Down with Falls Coalition. Dr. Kay is in the speaker’s bureau for the coalition helping educate health care professionals and the community on fall risks, diabetes, adverse drug reaction, dementia, Parkinson’s disease, dehydration and nutrition, etc…. for older adults.
Dr. Kay was nominated by the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) as the Remarkable Woman of 2008.
Dr. Kay is actively involved in many philanthropy and non-profit organizationssuch as the American Cancer Society, Susan G. Komen, the Philharmonic Society, Women Helping Women, Youth Employment Services, E-Women, Women Sage, Plasticos Foundation, CIELO and others.
Dr. Kay’s passion is to assist seniors to live long and thrive in the comfort of their own home.
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