What Should I Do When My Senior Parent Won’t Eat?

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Nutrition is vital to physical, mental, and emotional health. Bad eating habits could lead to heart disease, extreme weight loss, poor immune function, and other dangerous health issues. However, family caregivers can use the following tips to address their senior loved ones’ eating problems.

Add More Taste

By monitoring your loved one’s actions and asking important questions, you can determine if he or she has lost the sense of taste. In some cases, the food may not be tasty, but adding more herbs and healthy spices could make the dishes more appealing. Keep in mind that aging can cause the sense of taste to decrease and affect dietary intake. Speak with your loved one’s doctor about this issue and learn what type of treatment is available to boost your loved one’s ability to taste.

A home caregiver can help you explore healthy ways to persuade your loved one to eat. Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same type of elder care. Kingwood families can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide individualized care plans to meet your elderly loved one’s unique care needs. Our holistic Balanced Care Method was designed to help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and our Cognitive Therapeutics Method offers mentally stimulating activities that can stave off cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia.

Puree Meals

Eating can become a challenge for aging adults, especially those with poor oral health and reduced motor function that can make it difficult to chew and swallow. Instead of living with pain caused by chewing and swallowing, seniors may simply stop eating, increasing their risk of malnutrition. Find the issue and seek an adequate solution. For instance, serving softer foods or pureeing meals could reduce chewing and swallowing issues and encourage your loved one to eat. Finding the problem early on can help you combat the issue and boost your loved one’s health.

Ensuring your loved one gets proper nutrition when he or she doesn’t want to eat can be exhausting. If you’re the primary family caregiver for an elderly loved one and need additional assistance providing high-quality senior care, Home Care Assistance can help. We are a leading home care agency committed to changing the way seniors age.

Offer a Variety

Eating the same entrées and side dishes each day can become boring, which is why you should find healthy and appealing recipes for your parent. The excitement of testing new foods could boost your loved one’s appetite. Ask your loved one to help you cook the meals, giving him or her something stimulating and fun to do. Creating new dishes could excite your loved one and alleviate mental issues such as depression that could suppress his or her appetite.

Decrease Portion Sizes

Older adults living with conditions like dementia and Alzheimer’s may be intimidated by the size of their meals, so they refuse to eat. Large portions and too many colors can confuse or frighten seniors in the later stages of these disorders, which is why you should decrease your parent’s meal sizes. Instead of serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner, divide your loved one’s meals into five or six smaller ones.

Change Medications

Many seniors take multiple medications for various age-related conditions. These medicines could alter their sense of taste and smell and cause them to stop eating. Ask your loved one’s primary care physician about alternative treatment options. Never stop giving your loved one a prescription without receiving approval from the doctor. 

If you’re the primary family caregiver for a senior loved one living in Kingwood, live-in care is available if your loved one’s health has become too difficult to manage without professional expertise. At Home Care Assistance, we take measures to help seniors prevent illness and injury by assisting with exercise and mobility, preparing nutritious meals, helping with bathing and other personal hygiene tasks, and much more. We will work with you to create a customized home care plan that’s suited for your loved one’s unique needs. Call the Home Care Assistance team at 832-412-1345 today.