Seniors need to eat well to maintain their health, but your aging loved one might encounter challenges that make it difficult to get the right amount of nutrition in his or her diet. Your loved one might lose his or her appetite due to medication side effects or a digestive disorder. Some seniors may also have difficulty with cooking if they have health conditions that limit their mobility. Determining how well your loved one is eating helps you know when to step in and help.
Watch for Changes in Weight
Major weight fluctuations are a significant sign of poor nutrition in seniors. You should be most concerned if your loved one experiences rapid weight loss. This could signify your parent is hardly eating at all if there isn’t a health condition that could cause him or her to lose weight. Significant weight gain may be a sign your loved one is eating the wrong types of food.
Assess Your Loved One’s Mood & Energy Levels
Seniors who aren’t eating well may experience major fluctuations in their blood sugar levels, which could cause them to have mood swings or be generally cranky. Poor nutrition can also cause seniors to develop anemia, which could make them feel tired all the time. Mood changes can sometimes indicate a mental health disorder, such as depression, that may alter how well your loved one eats.
The regular companionship of a home caregiver can help your loved one alleviate feelings of loneliness and isolation that often lead to mood issues. For families living in Richmond, respite care can be a wonderful solution when their aging loved ones need companionship and socialization a few hours a week or just need minor assistance with daily household tasks. At Home Care Assistance, we thrive on helping seniors maintain their independence while living in the comfort of home.
Take a Peek at Food Storage Areas
An empty refrigerator or pantry is a good sign your loved one doesn’t have the supplies needed to eat well even if he or she wants to. Seniors might have bare pantries if they’re concerned about their finances, or they might be having difficulty getting to the grocery store. Asking your loved one if he or she needs help getting groceries can clue you in to what’s going on.
If your loved one needs help with grocery shopping and planning nutritious meals, a professional caregiver can be a wonderful resource. At-home care providers can benefit aging adults in a variety of ways. From cooking nutritious meals to offering timely medication reminders, the dedicated caregivers at Home Care Assistance are available to help your elderly loved one 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Check the General Kitchen Setup
Ideally, your loved one’s kitchen will be fairly clean. If not, he or she may need help with housekeeping to get the kitchen ready for cooking. On the other hand, you should also be wary of a kitchen that’s too clean. Even the most conscientious senior’s kitchen should occasionally contain evidence that he or she has eaten. A senior who never seems to have dishes in the sink or dishwasher or a stray crumb on the counter might not be eating much at home.
Observe Your Loved One at Mealtimes
Enjoying a meal with your loved one gives you valuable insights into his or her eating habits. Take note if he or she seems to eat more when you’re there. This is a sign you might want to increase the frequency of your visits and arrange for companion meal services when you can’t be there. If your loved one seems to be in pain when eating, he or she may need to see a doctor or dentist. Watch your loved one’s behavior for clues that let you know what to do to make sure every meal is enjoyable and nutritious.
In Richmond, in-home care agencies can be a great boon to seniors. With the help of the caregivers at Home Care Assistance, your aging loved one can lead a happier and healthier life. We offer a revolutionary program called the Balanced Care Method, which encourages seniors to eat nutritious foods, exercise and socialize regularly, and focus on other lifestyle factors that increase life expectancy. If you need professional home care for your loved one, Home Care Assistance is just a phone call away. Reach out to one of our Care Managers today at (804) 207-4746.