For our loved ones who suffer from memory loss, meal time can be a real challenge. Anything from grocery shopping, preparing a meal to even remembering to eat. Conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Dementia cause significant changes in the brain, which can turn a seemingly simple task like eating a meal into a daunting task. Here, we will discuss some simple ways to encourage our elderly loved ones to eat nutrient-dense meals regularly.
Prepare Food That is Visually Appealing
Presenting a meal that looks delicious, with lots of color and texture, can encourage a senior to eat and makes meal time exciting. Experts suggest that avoiding “bland” looking foods can make a big difference, for example, substitute a sweet potato for a regular potato. Not only is colorful food visually appealing, but those foods also tend to be the most nutrient-dense. Consider lots of brightly-colored fruits and vegetables like carrots, peppers, dark leafy greens, citrus fruits and berries.
Likely, your loved one will head to the refrigerator a couple times a day to grab at least a beverage or snack. By having a visual reminder that there’s prepared food in the refrigerator- even naming what they are- this can encourage a senior to eat a meal and remember that it’s available. A simple whiteboard or notepad on the refrigerator can do the trick.
Make Sure Food Is Easily Accessible
It is important that a healthy snack or meal is always within arms-reach. If you have a loved one who has a hard time remembering meals, make sure that food is at eye-level when they open their freezer or refrigerator. Always make sure that healthy snacks are easily accessible in a kitchen cabinet or on the counter so they are encouraged to fuel their body throughout the day.
Encourage Physical Exercise
Getting a senior exercising can help fire up their appetite. This can include a daily walk, gardening, or even household chores. Those who live a sedentary lifestyle or have an overload of distractions (for example, sitting in front of the TV all day) can easily forget mealtime or simply lose their desire to eat. Promoting an active lifestyle with a variety of activities in a day can add structure and encourage regular meals.
Include Hydrating Foods In The Diet
Many seniors with memory issues do not always drink enough fluids or consume enough calories, which can exacerbate symptoms of confusion. It is important to include a variety of hydrating foods in the diet like vegetables and fruits to help against dehydration.
Consider a Meal Service
For those who struggle to remember to eat, preparing a meal can be even more difficult. Many seniors with memory issues will not only forget to eat, but they may also not remember how to prepare foods the way they used to. Using a meal-service like Chefs for Seniors, this takes away the burden from the caregiver and ensures a peace-of-mind that your loved one has healthy meals readily available to them in their refrigerator and freezer. In fact, Chefs for Seniors takes meal preparation a step further and offers a personalized, customized experience because the cooking is done in the client’s home. Meals are completely cooked and packaged in microwave safe containers with simple instructions without the fussing of cooking or cleanup. Having a chef in the home every week can be a big boost of socialization as well as regular eating habits.