Home Instead care professionals helping with nutrition

Maintaining good nutrition is key to ensuring that you can live your best life as you get older. Read more to discover our tips on how to maintain a healthy appetite.

Quality Homecare can assist with appetite, nutrition and frailty

Maintaining good nutrition is key to ensuring that you can live your best life as you get older.  The British Nutrition Foundation agrees that diet may need to be adapted as we age but at the same time, people may become less interested in food so it is important to develop new habits and try new recipes too.

At the Home Instead (Stourbridge, Hagley and Halesowen) Office, we see first-hand how ageing can affect appetite so our Care Professionals are trained to recognise the signs and provide support.  Appetite can be affected by the natural ageing processes which affect the senses, nerves leading to the brain and hormones as well as certain illnesses such as dementia, changes in lifestyle, levels of exercise and some medications.  Therefore some people do not experience the normal sensation of hunger, even when they have not had the food and nutrition that they need.

A Home Instead homecare assistant works with a client to support independence

Factors Affecting Appetite

Altered sense of taste or smell

At the Home Instead Office for Stourbridge, Hagley, Halesowen, Belbroughton, Clent and Romsley, we know that ageing can affect the number and sensitivity of the sensors for taste and smell.  This is why older adults aften like to add more sugar or salt to food so that it tastes as they remember it.  The extra salt and sugar can then cause added problems.

Reduced intake of nutrients

Sometimes a cycle can develop where poor diet leads to consuming less nutrients, such as vitamin B, and the electrolytes magnesium, sodium, zinc and iron, which in turn leads to a lower appetite.

Lower production of saliva

Natural ageing as well as some medications can affect the production of saliva which has a a negative impact on food digestion but also affects the enjoyment of eating which in turn will lead to a reduced appetite.

Bowel and stomach problems

Sickness, diarrhoea and constipation can all affect food consumption, but the stomach and bowel work best if there is a normal volume of food travelling through the digestive system.  Physical activity can also be beneficial for a healthy digestive system.

Home Instead (Stourbridge Hagley, Belbroughton, Clent, Romsley) prepares home cooked meal with fresh vegetables

Home Instead Care Professionals

At Home Instead we realise that homecare staff have an important job in supporting seniors to maintain their appetite.  They understand that when someone says they are not hungry, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they don’t need to eat.  We create a plan and encourage clients to stick to a routine, with meals at set times.  Often, caregivers will prepare two or more meals during a visit – one to eat now and another meal or snack to have later in the day.  The brain recognises these patterns, so it is important to stick to the same times each day to maintain a consistent ‘body-clock’.  Meals can be small but it is important to try to make them enjoyable, so that the pleasure of eating reinforces the routine.

Care Professionals are aware that if someone has lost weight for any reason, they should try to support the client to increase the nutrient intake.  This can be done by introducing some extra snacks or by making sure that meals are densely packed with nutrients, particularly high protein and high calorie foods.  This can be done simply by adding extra vegetables, grains, pulses or nuts.  Some dishes can be supplemented with cream or olive oil too.  In this scenario it may also be beneficial to consider a high protein supplement until a full appetite is regained, particularly if the body needs to recover after illness or injury.  Care Pros also understand that having a treat from time to time is OK too!  This is important for wellbeing and reminds the brain and the body that eating can be a pleasurable activity.

At Home Instead (Stourbridge, Hagley and Halesowen), we encourage our care professionals to think outside the box if their normal powers of persuasion are not enough.  Eating together can be a great way of telling the brain that it is time to eat, as meals are associated with social gatherings throughout our lives.  Food presentation is also surprisingly effective, thinking about how food is laid on the plate, making food colourful and using contrasting crockery.  For added fun, finger food can often bring back memories from childhood and remind someone of the joy and pleasure that food can bring.

To find out more about how Home Instead Care can help support with nutrition, give us a call.  We can’t wait to learn about the foods that you like, to plan some meals and sort out your shopping list with you.  So come and find us for a chat at our office in Hagley.  Care Professionals love to involve you in cooking together or maybe providing the transport for a shared cake in a local garden centre or coffee shop.  There are plenty to choose from, particularly in the Hagley, Belbroughton, Clent and Romsley villages!

Call us for a chat to see how we can provide nutritional support. 01562 885589
A Home Instead Care Professional shares a nutritious home cooked meal with her client