Studies are now showing that one in two seniors are living at home undernourished or malnourished. This can be caused from a variety of things, including an unbalanced diet, the body’s unwillingness to absorb food, a chemical imbalance when reacting to medication, even depression from spending too much time alone.
For many seniors, the problem grows quickly. It may begin with dehydration. If a senior sits a lot, they may not take in the amount of liquid necessary to keep the body functioning. Dehydration can lead to UTI’s and other conditions requiring medicine. The medicine may counteract with current medicines already in their systems. Or worse, they may simply forget to take it at all. Medicines can cause bloating, or a feeling of being full, which means the senior forgets to eat, or simply has no desire. Eventually it all adds up to more problems, to the point it can even put a senior into the hospital.
Food is energy; we all need it to live at our peak levels. Food is also thought of as a social activity; a time we connect with those around us. But when a person can’t get out to enjoy a meal in good company, and the same foods they once loved simply don’t taste good anymore, eating becomes more of a chore than enjoyment.
And if your loved one is living alone, it can be difficult to make sure there are eating the right way. That’s where in home care can help. One of the tasks our caregivers do best is to help plan and prepare nutritious, well balanced meals. We do this in a variety of ways.
We assist with meal planning. We can start by helping your loved one clip coupons and make out a shopping list. We can help them choose favorite recipes, and ensure all supplies are at home. We can help them clean out cupboards with old or out-of-date food. We can introduce them to new recipes that will encourage eating as well.
We assist with the shopping. Is your loved one able to get out for small trips? We can go with them and help them make selections at their favorite grocery store. Grocery stores are filled with all kinds of interesting things; they may even meet a friend or two. Participation is a great way to encourage your loved one to take the next step, both in creating a meal and in eating it.
We assist with meal preparation. Our caregivers can help motivate your loved one to take an active part in making and eating a meal. The simple act of cutting up vegetables or stirring a pot can make the anticipation of the coming meal more exciting. And by cooking with a caregiver along side of them, they won’t “forget” to turn off a burner on the stove.
We follow physician or dietician requirements, and provide the best meal possible to meet both your loved one’s needs and desires. We understand that some seniors may not be able to eat what they love if they have heart disease, diabetes, or other diseases or problems. An in home caregiver knows how to balance what a senior loves with what they can truly eat. They can make the process fun, taking out the negative impacts of what they “can’t” eat, and replace it with the things they “can” have instead. They can also provide guidance for appropriate eating and drinking, depending on the medicines taken.