A decreased appetite is just one of the many changes the elderly face as they age. If your mom or dad just isn’t as hungry and is losing weight, it can be concerning.
Here are three tips for making sure your parent is eating enough.
1. Avoid Full Meals and Do Small Plates More Frequently
Rather than serve one large meal each day, spread meals out and have smaller meals more frequently. Your parent will always be eating without making the stomach feels uncomfortable. Eating frequent meals also helps regulate blood sugar levels and avoid crashes when the stomach is nearing empty.
When creating a schedule for small, frequent meals, start with breakfast just after getting up, then plan another light meal two hours later. Space them out so that a small plate is offered every two or three hours.
2. Make Sure There’s a Companion Available for Main Meals
Many seniors eat more when they have company. Instead of cooking a meal and then leaving your mom or dad to eat alone, sit down and share a meal and conversation. Plan weekly or monthly family dinners where your mom or dad enjoy the company of children and grandchildren.
If you cannot always be there for meals, talk to an elder care agency. In addition to preparing meals for your parent, a caregiver can sit down and eat with your mom or dad.
3, Try New Things
Taste buds change over time. Your mom or dad’s lack of appetite may simply be that the foods in the cupboards, freezer, and refrigerator are no longer appealing. Introduce new foods and see what your mom or dad really seems to enjoy.
–Create plates that have a variety of colors and textures…
For example, crunchy tortilla chips with the red, white, and green of a homemade pico de gallo appeal to the eyes and mouth. A grilled chicken breast topped with a chutney made from blueberries and onions looks appealing and is healthy, too. Keep introducing new foods from time to time to keep your parent from becoming bored.
Caregivers benefit your mom or dad in so many ways. Not only will your parent have help preparing meals, but the companionship aspect is very important. Studies find that the elderly are in better physical and mental shape when they avoid feeling lonely. Call an elder care agency today to learn more about the services available to your mom or dad.