Providing your senior loved one a healthy, balanced, nourishing diet is not really that difficult, but getting your loved one to actually eat the healthy food can be a real challenge. One of the benefits of an in-home caregiver is personal one-on-one meal planning.
As people age their appetites diminish. Problems with teeth, swallowing, medication side effects, depression, pain, and the inability to taste and enjoy certain flavors are only a few of the many causes of eating problems in the elderly. While a diet high in sugary foods may not always be detrimental to a senior’s health it may indicate other underlying issues that may need attention. For example, if your elder has problems chewing, swallowing, or digesting foods, it’s natural for them to prefer a soft piece of cake or a dish of ice cream over tougher, more nutritious food choices like meat or broccoli. Allcare Home Health caregivers are trained to watch for signs that indicate difficulty with chewing or swallowing.
The downside of a sweet tooth is that a lot of sugar can make the senior’s body demand more insulin, a hormone that helps convert food into energy. When we eat, the body breaks down sugar and starches from our food into glucose — the body’s fuel — and insulin carries it to our cells. When that process slows down or stops working, glucose (sugar) builds up in the blood.
Symptoms of Too Much Sugar in the Blood Include
- Brain fog
- High blood pressure
A higher than normal blood sugar level doesn’t mean that your loved one has diabetes, but they may be at risk of eventually developing Type 2 Diabetes. Part of our in-home care is healthy meal preparation. Our caregivers will discuss diet options with the client’s family.
Suggestions to Help Ensure You’re Loved One is Receiving Proper Nutrition
- Eat in a quiet room with limited distractions so that your loved one can focus on eating.
- Eating meals together can increase the likelihood that your loved one will eat the healthy meal provided.
- Increase protein. Even if your loved one cannot chew meat well, try eggs, milk-based pudding, or even protein powder.
- Cut food into small pieces to make eating easier if your loved one can no longer use utensils.
- Puree vegetables and add them to a shake if your loved one will not eat vegetables on their own.
- Strengthen the prefrontal cortex responsible for dietary self-restraint by avoiding alcohol, getting adequate sleep, and exercising.
- At the end of life, allow them to indulge! Registered Dietician, Jillian Ball of Ball & Associates Nutrition Counseling says “Food is one of the last things people can enjoy when they’re sick. Let them eat what they want!” She cautions that if they still have a long life ahead of them it is important to watch their sugar intake and monitor blood sugar if they have diabetes.
Call (919) 301-0236 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a new client assessment by one of our trained RNs. Our caregivers can offer assistance with healthy meal preparation for you loved one. Allcare Home Health Agency, Inc is there when you can’t be.
Alz.net, Pubmed.gov, MyAllAmericanCare.com