When his elderly uncle had dropped a significant number of pounds in just a few months, James grew worried.
As he spent time with his uncle, who lived alone, James realized that he simply was not eating. Part of the problem was his uncle’s reduced appetite due to some mild depression. Osteoporosis made it hard for his uncle to get around easily.
The result was diminished calories and nutritional intake and it was starting to affect his uncle’s health. James knew that for his uncle to be as healthy as possible, he needed to figure out a way to get him to eat better.
October is Eat Better, Eat Together Month, and it’s an excellent opportunity for family caregivers to take the initiative on making meals more pleasant and healthy for their elderly relatives. So many seniors are eating meals alone, and while it may not seem like a big deal, studies show that eating alone can have serious negative health consequences.
Many elderly adults live alone due to the death of a spouse, family members moving away, and physical limitations that keep them at home. Illness, injury, and age-related chronic conditions can also keep seniors from being as social as they want to be. The result is that many elderly adults spend a lot of time alone in their homes and eat by themselves.
When elderly adults eat by themselves, studies show that they are less likely to cook nutritious meals and will often turn to snack food or unhealthy alternatives.
Some seniors don’t even eat at all, as they don’t want to be bothered to cook for one person. Still others may be physically limited in what they can do in the kitchen and are forced to eat convenient food that has no real nutritional value. Emotionally, eating alone can lead to loneliness, anxiety, depression and cognitive decline.
Family caregivers need to embrace the ideals of Eat Better, Eat Together Month and come up with some ways to help their elderly loved ones have better means and more quality time with others. Of course, one of the best ways to do this is to have different family members host the elderly adult for meals, particularly dinner. Spending time with family is an important part of feeling connected and needed. Many elderly adults will eat bigger helpings when they are a guest, so family caregivers should focus on serving nutrient-dense dishes to their aging relative.
Another way that elderly people can get good meals and some social interaction is by hiring an elderly care provider. These professionals can come to the senior’s home and help with any tasks that are too challenging for the elderly adult. Common tasks include housework, laundry and dishes. They can assist with self-care tasks as well, such as bathing, dressing and grooming. Meal planning and preparation is included in the list of services, and it’s an excellent way for seniors to get healthy, balanced meals with a companion to talk to.
Family caregivers must figure out ways to get their elderly loved ones into a better meal situation. Instead of eating junk food alone, seniors will do much better physically and mentally if they eat with different people who prepare nutritious food for them.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering hiring Elderly Care in Pelham, AL, please contact the caring staff at Senior Legacy Care today. Call us at (205) 380-7418.
Susan Smith, Owner
Susan Smith is the owner of Senior Legacy, an independent non-medical senior in home care business.... Read More...