Malnutrition is a risk everyone faces, but it’s especially prevalent over the age of 60. Your parents may have food in their house, but are they eating enough or eating the right things? If they’re not, their health is at risk.
Loss of Taste May Lead to Malnutrition
Several things can impact whether or not your parents eat enough. One of the most common is a condition known as dysgeusia. This is the loss of taste that senior citizens experience. The taste buds aren’t as plentiful and don’t work as effectively at picking up salty, bitter, sour, sweet, and umami.
Dysgeusia can also be caused by dry mouth and high levels of bacteria in the mouth. If your parents don’t visit the dentist often or have gum disease, it may impact how foods taste. Dental visits are important for several reasons including nutrition.
As foods don’t taste the same, foods your parents used to love become unappealing. The flavors their taste buds do pick out may become popular choices. Often, sweet and salty items are preferred. They may not be the healthiest options. What do you do if that happens?
You need to heavily season foods so that they appeal to your mom and dad. If they are over-salting meals, use lemon or lime to help foods stand out. Herbs and spices can also help boost flavor in foods your parents should eat but are avoiding.
Meal Planning is Important
Someone needs to pay attention to what your parents are eating. If your mom has become very fond of overnight oats mixed with walnuts, apple pieces, and cinnamon, it’s important to make sure that item is always available. It’s better to have her eating that for several meals than skipping meals.
Your dad loves meatloaf and roasted potatoes. You may not want him to eat beef each day. Find a recipe that uses ground turkey that he loves and you’re both happy. Caregivers can add that to the weekly menu and serve it often.
Have Caregivers Help With Meals
Your parents may not have the appetite they used to. Instead of full meals, they could have smaller meals every two or three hours. Small plates will help stabilize blood sugar levels and are more manageable when the appetite decreases.
When you’re at work, it’s you can’t make sure your parents are eating every few hours. There’s a way to make sure this happens.
Elder care aides are helpful in making sure your parents eat enough each day and at appropriate times. If your dad has diabetes and needs to eat smaller meals regularly to stabilize his blood sugar levels, caregivers can help.
If your mom needs help with meal planning and shopping, caregivers are able to do that too. Call an elder care agency to make arrangements for meal preparation and grocery shopping assistance.
If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring professional Home Care Services in Gardendale, AL, call and talk to the staff at Lipford Home Care (205) 623-5700.
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