Home health care worker and an elderly couple

Keep Your Loved One Healthy with These Mealtime Tips for the Elderly

Phoenix’s Private Duty Care Services Can Include Meal Planning, Preparation, and Eating

A balanced diet of nutritious foods can help senior citizens stay active and healthy for longer. However, with advancing age can come difficulty with meal planning and safely preparing foods.

You can help your loved one thrive by following these tips, and by scheduling private duty care – or home health for those who need assistance and medical support after a new diagnosis or during recovery.

Consider Unique Nutritional Needs of the Elderly

Like any age group, older adults should focus on eating a variety of foods from each food group – protein, dairy, grain, and vegetables. However, seniors may need to be more careful about consuming adequate vitamin B12, vitamin D, potassium, calcium, protein, and fiber.

As you age, your body is less able to absorb vital vitamins, which may mean your loved one should take supplements. Always consult with a physician before starting a vitamin regimen.

Anyone recovering from a surgery may also have slightly different nutritional needs, such as increased protein intake for cell repair and healing; always ask your doctor or home health nurse about dietary needs or restrictions after a procedure or hospitalization.

Older adults also lose sense of thirst, making it more difficult to stay hydrated. Drinking water throughout the day and limiting sugary or salty drinks can help.

Prepare Easy-to-Grab Snacks to Keep on Hand

If you’re your loved one’s primary caregiver, you can get a sense of how often and when they feel hungry throughout the day. To help you manage your time and other responsibilities, consider preparing snacks in advance rather than making them when your loved one requests it.

This can be as simple as portioning out carrot sticks or other sliced veggies into bowls or mixing up a fresh batch of tuna salad to serve with crackers or on toast. Show your loved one where they can find these prepared snacks in the refrigerator to help foster independence and to aid in their recovery after a surgery or hospitalization.

Rely on your loved one’s private duty home caregiver or home health team to reiterate the importance of healthful eating. A private duty caregiver can also help you by planning, preparing, and shopping for meals, and even feed your loved one, if they need assistance with tasks of daily living.

Think About Food Prep Time and Simplicity

Private duty care from Phoenix Home Care & Hospice can help you manage your loved one’s nutritional needs by preparing and serving food.

But on days when you’re serving as caregiver, you’ll want to consider your plethora of responsibilities and how you can better manage time. One great way to do this is to choose meals with short prep times and simple ingredients.

Another way is to use pre-sliced or pre-chopped fruits and veggies, which you can purchase at the grocery store or prepare in advance.

You may also wish to make a big batch of soup or roasted veggies and a protein that you can portion into individual servings and stow in the refrigerator for meal times.

Caregivers Should Provide Foods Their Loved One Enjoys

When planning and preparing meals for your loved one, ensure you’re thinking about the type of foods your loved one enjoys. You may even find that your caregiver role becomes easier when your loved one eats their food with passion!

If you can, ask your loved one to help plan and prepare their meals with you. Not only does this make eating a social activity – and thus more enjoyable – but it also helps your loved one feel needed and important.

Work with a Dietician

If you’re new to being a caregiver, or you aren’t sure that your loved one is getting adequate nutrition based on their eating habits, it’s worthwhile to request help from a registered dietician.

A registered dietician is a food and nutrition expert who holds a bachelor’s degree and has completed coursework in nutrition and dietetics. Additionally, registered dieticians have passed a certification exam from the Commission on Dietetic Registration and are required to complete ongoing training to maintain licensure.

A dietician can provide guidance on vitamin and mineral intake, sample menus, and calorie requirements for your loved one to ensure they’re as healthy as possible while they age in place, as well as ideas to help your loved one improve their eating habits.

Private Duty Care and Medical Social Workers in Home Health Help You Access Meal Delivery Services in Your Community

If your loved one lives independently, or if you need relief from the responsibilities that come with serving as a family caregiver, you can rely on Phoenix Home Care & Hospice to help you access community resources.

When you schedule private duty care for your loved one or when your loved one’s physician orders home health care for recovery after an injury, hospitalization, or surgery, Team Phoenix can recommend community resources to improve your loved one’s quality of life.

For the homebound elderly, this can include meal delivery services in your community, such as Meals on Wheels. This program’s volunteers deliver meals each day to your loved one, based on the schedule you set up in advance. Meals are nutritionally balanced, and some deliveries include a snack and low-fat milk.

Learn How Private Duty Home Caregivers Make Mealtimes a Breeze

Your elderly loved one can age in place and lead a fulfilling life at home with private duty care from Phoenix. Our professional caregivers are highly skilled at caring for the day-to-day needs of your loved one and can help make mealtime stress a thing of the past.

To learn more about how private duty caregivers can help with tasks of daily living, contact Phoenix Home Care & Hospice. And if your loved one needs home health care after a hospitalization, be sure to request us by name to their physician.

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Wesley Koenig, RN

Meet Wesley Koenig, RN from our Columbia location. Wesley, we are so thankful for your dedication to your clients and Phoenix Home Care and Hospice!

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