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Home > Common Concerns > Nutrition


Getting Mom to Eat Her Vegetables

Whether you're dealing with a diabetic who stashes cookies, a junk food junkie who refuses to reform, or a once robust eater who has lost interest in food, as a caregiver you face many obstacles when it comes to making sure your loved one receives proper nutrition. Maybe it's Karma for all those times you slipped the dog your peas when you were a kid. Nevertheless, there are many ways to boost a senior's nutritional intake.

Power Up on Power Foods

Here are just some of the foods that are extremely rich in antioxidants and provide many health benefits:

  • Pomegranates
  • Blueberries
  • Strawberries
  • Citrus
  • Cinnamon
  • Green Tea
  • Black Tea
  • Tomatoes
  • Beans
  • Soy
  • Salmon

When Dad's Favorite Foods No Longer do it for Him

As people age, changes occur that alter their perceptions of foods. Their sense of smell, taste, and sight diminish, which dulls the eating experience. Try adjusting spices and herbs to add more flavor. Many of the most antioxidant rich foods have bright colors that can be arranged on the plate for even more appeal. Experiment and see what works.

Is it Something They Can Sink Their Teeth Into?

Dental or other medical problems can wreak havoc on mealtimes. Have the dentist check for ill-fitting dentures or any mouth pain. An eye, nose, and throat specialist or ENT can determine why your loved one might be having problems swallowing. Switching to softer foods like scrambled eggs, oatmeal or baby food may be necessary. Try pureeing favorite foods, or blending up protein shakes with fruit. If your loved one suffers from tremors, a bib and specially designed eating utensils can help.

There's Nothing Like a Home-Cooked Meal Around the Family Table

Is your loved one bored or lonely at dinner? Inviting friends and family to dine together can boost morale and appetite. Engage your senior in lively conversation while serving up the salmon, and see if that gets them digging in.

If They're Living on Their Own, They Could Still Use Some Help

Even those of us who are younger often find meal-planning, shopping, and cooking overwhelming. A program like Meals on Wheels can help make sure your loved ones have dinner on the table. Also, try stocking the freezer with nutritious, single or double-serving home cooked dishes that are easy for them to reheat. And to break up the monotony, invite them over or treat them to dinner out on the town.

Don't Forget the Vitamins

Vitamin supplements are a great way to make sure your loved ones get the nutrients they need. Ask the doctor or pharmacist for recommendations, but be sure they don't have negative interactions with other medications.