Elderly Nutrition – Helping Your Senior Eat Right: Additional Thoughts

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 12,152
    Mary Alexander with Home Instead Senior Care provides some tips for making sure your senior loved ones are getting proper nutrition. This video will focus on what you can do to help your senior eat right by making cooking and eating more enjoyable.

    Mary Alexander: Hi! I'm Mary Alexander from Home Instead Senior Care. And today I'm going to provide some tips for making sure your senior loved ones are getting proper nutrition. Now I am going to discuss what cyou can do to help your senior eat right by making cooking and eating more enjoyable. Dr. Nadine Sahyoun, a nutrition expert at the University of Maryland, suggests making eating, a happy event. She says, sometimes we focus too much on what we can't eat and don't give enough attention to what food represents to us. Dr. Sahyoun says food is at the core of our lives. It's about aroma, color, feel, texture and socializing. All of this is what makes a meal enjoyable, and is what should get our attention.

    But if there are issues with reduced taste and smell, or if your parent lives alone, let's talk about some ways that you can help make cooking and eating more enjoyable and appealing for them. To keep their daily menus interesting and healthy, seniors will want to mix up their food choices particularly within each food group everyday. Each senior's diet plan is individual. If your parent has reached age 75 and has not developed heart disease or cancer, you don't need to recommend any different food intervention. They already found a meal plan that works. But if you are seeing your loved one's dietary plan leaves a room for improvement, suggest gradual improvements. And start out by focusing on just one thing to change. For example, if food tastes too bland, suggest that they try some natural flavor enhancers, which are also good for them. Some good choices are olive oil, vinegar, garlic, onions and spices, including cinnamon, cloves and ginger. These spices are also good for people who need to cut back on salt. Some other ideas to help improve your senior's nutrition are to assemble healthy snacks at home in small baggies using foods such as nuts and seeds, low fat cheese and fresh vegetables and fruit. Rather than buying less healthy and more expensive prepackaged and processed snacks.

    You can also help do some batch cooking when the food budget and time allows. For example, cook a large amount of spaghetti sauce, divide it into small size portions and freeze them promptly to use for meals later in the month.

    Another idea is to take advantage of planned leftovers to cut preparation time and save food dollars. For example, prepare a roast. Serve half of it and freeze the remaining half to use later with vegetables for a quick soup or in other dishes. Also mix up meals. Who said your parents can't have lunch for breakfast or breakfast for dinner. What if you try vegetable soup and a turnip sandwich on pumpernickel bread at breakfast or an omelet or a muffin and fresh fruit for dinner?

    Variety is the spice of life, but sometimes there are some special considerations that must be taken into account when considering proper nutrition for your parents. We discuss those in the next video.