Miami, FL Home Care Blog


January 2018 Meal Planning for Aging Parents

Meal Planning for Aging Parents: Making Sure They Eat Properly

As a caregiver for aging parents, one of the most important aspects of proper care is managing their meals. Meal planning is thus a must. Because our nutritional needs change as we get older, it’s essential to find time to not only prepare and cook the meals, but also to customize each meal to meet individual nutritional needs. It’s important to know the essentials for good health in an elderly person you’re caring for.

Want to learn how meal planning can meet the needs of your aging parents? Here are some recommendations to ensure your loved ones get the proper nutrients for a healthy life.

Nutrients Are Key

As we age, our bodies lose vitality. Just as a car wears with use, so too do our bodies. It is critical that we supply our aging parents with the proper food supplements to offset what they can no longer produce on their own.

One of the most common, yet most critical, nutrients that our bodies lose is calcium. Bones lose density as they age, and so, to help offset this in your loved one’s body, you’ll need to increase the amount of calcium they take in. According to the World Health Organization, we should have started to supplement our calcium intake at age 50, though late is better than never.

An added benefit of calcium? It lowers high blood pressure, another common symptom in the elderly.

On the same note, lowering sodium intake can benefit those with hypertension. For your aging parents, this means staying away from frozen and processed foods. Instead, try steering them more towards fresh fruits and whole grains.

Hydrate

The foods your aging parents eat are important, but so too is what they drink. The elderly don’t feel the urge to quench their thirst as much as younger people. Without this bodily signal, dehydration is a major risk for seniors.

One simple way to check whether your aging parents are dehydrated is to check their urine. If the urine is dark yellow - or brown in severe cases - make sure they begin drinking more, even if you have to create a drinking schedule.

If you have trouble getting them to drink, you can try making them shakes. This can also help if you have a picky eater who refuses to eat what you’re trying to give them.

Make Adjustments over Time

Just as our dietary needs change in short periods of time as a child, so too do they as we get older. Keep an eye on any health conditions they may have, as these can change their dietary needs.

For seniors skeptical of change, it may take a while to get them to switch their diet initially, so changing it gradually over time might feel like a daunting process. But it doesn’t have to be. Ensure the one you’re caring for that this change is what’s best for them, and make sure you stay sincere but firm. Regardless of how they react, remind yourself that making the change is important for the health of your loved one.

Take the Ride with Them

Eating healthy doesn’t have to start when you hit a certain age - it can begin any time.

If you have trouble getting them to drink, you can try making them shakes. This can also help if you have a picky eater who refuses to eat what you’re trying to give them.

Most Importantly, Check with Their Doctor

It can be easy, with the internet at our every beck and call, to think that we know what we are doing when it comes to the health of our aging parents. But it is really essential to ask their primary care provider about making any nutritional changes. While we might think we are doing our loved one a favor, the changes that we make to their diet could end up counteracting their medication or cause symptoms we don’t understand. Getting the advice of a health professional before moving forward is the best thing you can do. After all, it’s our parents’ health we’re most concerned about.

Concerned whether your aging parents are getting the proper nutrition? Granny Nannies can help. Call (305) 591-1818 today for a free in-home consultation.