Food and nutrition play an important role in staying well. But many people lose their interest in food as they get older and, according to Home Instead research, one in five over 75s struggle to cook their own food.
As part of our new campaign called ‘Stay Nourished,’ our aim is to raise awareness of the importance of maintaining healthy eating habits.
We want to help people recognise the signs of malnutrition so that families or those providing care and support can take action. We will be discussing nutrition at our next CAREGiver meeting later this month.
Here are some ideas for encouraging your loved one to enjoy mealtimes:
Make mealtimes interesting. Encourage your loved one to get involved in the selection, preparation and serving of meals wherever possible. Aromas can help to stimulate the appetite so if your loved one is helping in the kitchen they will hopefully smell the meal cooking.
Plan ahead: Make a shopping list together and decide on a healthy meal plan for the week and consider pinning it up in the kitchen.
Ensure the dining area comfortable; Remove distractions, turn off the TV and create a nice atmosphere.
Think about portion sizes; If appetite is a problem, it is better to introduce smaller portions more often instead of a large plate of food 3 times a day. Offering finger foods is also a good way to encourage people to eat if someone doesn’t want a traditional meal.
Have healthy snack options available and make sure food and drinks are easily accessible throughout the day. This is especially important during the summer when there is a greater need for fluids.
Avoid calorie-free or low-fat products unless your loved one has specifically been advised to eat them by their GP.
Try to create a stress-free mealtime routine. Avoid rushing and coercing someone to eat. Gentle persuasion is better. Try keeping to a schedule of eating at the same time every day.
If you are feeling under strain and need a helping hand or a bit of respite time, Home Instead can help. Our CAREGivers can provide help around the house as well as assistance with meal preparation, shopping and errands.
For more information please contact me by email [email protected] or by telephone 01992 666777.
I look forward to hearing from you.