Firstly, it’s important to think about the cause of any potential malnutrition. You can discuss this with the person in question and try to establish if there is a specific reason why they seem to be eating less.
A common problem is that many elderly people simply forget to eat. To help solve this, you could start setting alarms as a gentle reminder for key meal times or you could write down a schedule for them and place it in plain sight.
Make it easy
When promoting nutrition in the elderly, it’s important to make things as accessible and easy as possible. There are many products out there that provide great nutritional value without the long process of prepping and cooking, which elderly people can find challenging.
A great way to introduce more protein into their diet is by incorporating ready-to-eat proteins, such as tuna, cheese, yogurt and peanut butter into meals.
Whole grains have numerous health benefits including constipation relief, a common problem for many inactive elderly people. Whole grains can come in the form of crackers, cereals, breads and other easy to cook options for meals, including microwavable brown rice and oatmeal.
Fruits and vegetables are also essential in any diet for providing important vitamins and minerals. Dark leafy greens such as spinach and kale in particular are one of the best foods for dementia patients as it is reported that these super foods have high levels of antioxidants that prevent and protect any further damage to brain cells. If an elderly person has dental problems or is unable to eat solid food, fruit and veg can be easily made into a smoothie. You could also introduce food molds to aid digestion.
Stay calm and positive
Although you may be met with some resistance initially, it’s important to remain as calm and as positive as possible. Older people are often unable to eat large portions and can sometimes be put off a meal entirely because of this. In addition, some older people tend to find food quite bland so ensure that food is seasoned well in order to make the taste more appealing.
Products for co-ordination problems
Problems with co-ordination are extremely common in the elderly population. There are many finger foods that can be prepped in order to help make mealtimes easier and there are also specifically designed pieces of cutlery available too. Beaucare stock a range of easy to use cutlery for those who struggle with co-ordination.
Include them in the process
Allowing an elderly person to see first hand the ingredients and types of products they will be incorporating can be really beneficial. Including them in the food buying process can help them get involved with their new change of diet.
The reassurance of having you there with them to read labels can reduce anxiety.
Dehydration is a frequent cause of hospitalisation in older adults. Making sure water is easily accessible for elderly people is a great place to start when it comes to keeping them hydrated.
Products such as this specialist intelligent hydration system are also a great tool. It has illuminating base signals to indicate when it’s time for a drink. You can even record voice messages to set and use as reminders for those who are visually impaired, making it extremely versatile.
If you require any additional advice about any of the products mentioned or how best to help the elderly with their diet, then please do not hesitate to get in touch and we will be happy to help.