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Considerations When Cooking for an Aging Loved One

Being a caregiver can have its challenging moments, especially when it comes to preparing and serving your loved one healthy, well-balanced meals. Between meeting your loved one’s nutritional needs and being aware of potential food and drug interactions, finding something to eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner can be challenging. Fortunately, with these tips, you can prepare meals that are not only packed with nutrients, but are easy to make for the busy, live-in caregiver.

Learn About Dietary Restrictions

Begin by reviewing any dietary restrictions outlined by your loved one’s physician. These restrictions will serve as a guideline when deciding what to prepare. You can then look for recipes specific to your loved one’s health conditions, whether it is diabetes, high blood pressure, or dementia. It may also be helpful to purchase cookbooks or food magazines with pictures so your loved one can be included in choosing his or her meals for the day or week.

Turn to Comfort Foods

Many caregivers struggle with meal planning when their loved one becomes disinterested in eating or loses their appetite. Research has found that food preferences developed during childhood are very hard to change as an adult, meaning your loved one will likely gravitate toward meals they ate when growing up. Suggest to your loved one favorite comfort foods like meatloaf, pot roast, or home-cooked macaroni and cheese. Of course, be sure to make healthy substitutions when necessary.

Tips for Improving Nutrition

It can be difficult to ensure your loved one is eating a balanced diet, especially as their tastes change. These tips, from the caregivers at Home Care Assistance of Annapolis, can help you make sure your loved one is eating well, no matter what you’re preparing.

  • Look for Natural Sweeteners

    Because older adults usually retain the ability to taste sweets longer than other tastes, use naturally sweet foods like yams and fruit instead of foods high in sugar content.

  • Serve Smoothies Between Meals

    Incorporate vegetables and fruits in your loved one’s diet with smoothies to have between meals, an excellent option if your loved one has trouble swallowing. You can add powder supplements to boost protein intake.

  • Boost the Diet with Healthy Fats

    Replace bad fats with healthy mono- and polyunsaturated fats, which can be found in olive oil, salmon, flaxseed, soy milk, nuts, and avocadoes to improve heart health.

  • Switch to Softer Foods

    If your loved one has trouble swallowing or chewing, prepare moist foods like stews and soups, which can be prepared with little effort with the help of a slow cooker.

For other tips on caring for a senior loved one, reach out to Home Care Assistance of Annapolis today. We are a trusted, local home care provider, offering flexible hourly and live-in care schedules to seniors in the community. Our trained caregivers can also effectively provide dementia, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and post-stroke care in Annapolis if your loved one has complex care needs. Call us today at 443-302-2771 and request a complimentary, no-obligation consultation for more information.