Nutrition is an essential part of staying well. Unfortunately, many people lose their interest in food as they age. According to Home Instead Senior Care research, one in five people over 75 struggle to cook their own food.
As part of our new ‘Stay Nourished’ campaign, we are aiming to raise the importance of maintaining healthy eating habits.
Home Instead South East Northumberland is here to share its knowledge and help recognise the signs of malnutrition so that families or those providing care and support can take action.
Here are some of our top tips for helping your loved one enjoy mealtimes:
- Keep them interesting – aromas can help build up an appetite. Encourage your loved one to get as involved as possible in choosing, preparing and serving their meals. This could start by helping them make a shopping list and meal plan for the week.
- Make the dining area comfortable – when possible, try to remove distractions and create a nice atmosphere. Making sure the area is clean, comfortable and well lit will make meal times more enjoyable.
- Consider portion sizes – appetite may be a problem. If this is the case, try making smaller portions of food more frequently throughout the day rather than a large plate 3 times a day. Small snacks and finger foods are a great way to encourage somebody to eat when they don’t have room for a traditional meal.
- Ensure healthy snack options are available – aim to ensure that food and drink options are easily accessible throughout the day. Easy to prepare snacks such as hard-boiled eggs, mixed nuts or fruit can help a loved one fit more calories in.
- Avoid calorie-free or low-fat products unless your loved one has been recommended these by their GP.
- Create a routine – avoid rushing and pressuring your loved one to eat. If needed, use gentle persuasion but aim to be consistent with eating schedules so that getting enough food is easier for your loved one.
- Confront the myth that weight loss is a normal process with ageing as our bodies become less active. Weight loss is not a normal part of the ageing process.
To find out more about the services we provide, or to make a suggestion for a future topic, please write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or by post to Home Instead South East Northumberland, Blyth Workspace, Unit T04, Commissioners Quay, Quay Road, Blyth, NE24 3AF. Alternatively, you can also call us on 01670 338542.