Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet is important for people of all ages, but it can be an especially important part of a senior’s health and wellbeing. Not getting enough healthy food can lead to weight loss, fatigue, weak muscles and bones, depression, malnutrition, anemia, and a poor immune system. If your senior loved one isn’t eating what he or she should, there may be a good reason. However, you can correct the situation. Here are a few common reasons aging adults don’t follow healthy diets.
Changes in Taste
Between the ages of 40 and 60, people begin to lose taste buds. After age 70, they also lose their sense of smell, which can cause changes in taste. Changes in the sense of taste are not necessarily a bad thing, but encouraging a healthy diet can prove difficult when the foods your loved one has enjoyed all his or her life aren’t as appealing as they once were. If changes in taste are causing your loved one to avoid a healthy diet, encourage him or her to try some new dishes. Experiment with new herbs and spices, and try bringing over dishes you’ve made for a taste test. Keep in mind certain medications may also cause a change in taste or appetite, so talk to a doctor if you suspect this is the case.
If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of home care Mesa, Arizona, families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.
Dentures and Other Oral Health Issues
Issues such as poorly-fitting dentures or toothaches may affect a senior’s ability to follow a healthy diet. No one wants to eat crunchy fruits and vegetables with a sore mouth. If you notice your loved one avoiding foods that require chewing, talk to him or her about it. Your loved one may need extra encouragement to seek help from a dentist.
Depression and Isolation
Many issues seniors have with food come down to their emotional health. For example, if your loved one has recently lost a spouse, he or she may feel as if there is no point to continue cooking or enjoying healthy meals for one. If your loved one feels isolated at home and no longer enjoys a social life, it may lead to depression. Lack of appetite is a common symptom of depression. If your loved one lives alone, see to it that he or she has someone to share meals with as often as possible. Invite him or her to your house or arrange lunch dates. Go to his or her home and cook together. Make healthy eating a family affair.
Lack of Mobility
For some seniors, not having healthy food is all about access. If your loved one no longer drives, he or she may not be able to get to the store often enough. Instead of burdening you and other friends and family for transportation, he or she may just rely on whatever food is in the house or completely avoid meals. If your loved one doesn’t drive or has mobility issues, keep an eye on his or her pantry and refrigerator. If you notice they look bare, take your loved one to the store. If that’s not possible, look into a grocery delivery service or consider hiring a professional caregiver to provide transportation. You can also have your loved one make a list, and you or another relative can do the shopping each week.
Seniors who need help switching over to healthy meals should consider professional in-home care. In Mesa, elder 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.
Seniors worry about many things, and money is often at the top of the list. Most seniors are retired or live on fixed incomes, which means they often cut corners where they can, and the supermarket may be one of the places where they try to save. It’s much cheaper to buy junk food or no food at all than it is to buy healthy food. If this sounds familiar, help your loved one come up with a grocery budget. If he or she doesn’t have the finances necessary to buy healthy food, look into programs in your community that provide meals and groceries to seniors in need. When you cook, you can also share meals with your loved one.
Many seniors find it difficult to prepare nutritious meals. If your aging loved one needs occasional help with bathing, grooming, cooking, or other basic household tasks, or if you need time to attend to important personal matters, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of live-in and respite care. Mesa seniors can maintain their independence while living at home with the help of our reliable respite caregivers. To hire a professionally trained caregiver for your aging loved one, call us at (480) 699-4899 today.