Eating a nutritious diet is vital for an older adult’s immune system, heart health, cognitive abilities, and more. Therefore, family caregivers need to monitor their senior parents’ eating habits and determine if they need more assistance or different diet plans. Below are some ways to discover if your loved one isn’t eating properly and ways to address each problem.
1. Lack of Energy
Failing to eat enough nutrients could cause fatigue. If you notice your parent lacking energy during the day, he or she might not be eating well. Healthy foods like blueberries, kale, broccoli, lean meats, and fat-free dairy products increase blood circulation, lower the odds of insulin resistance, and boost energy levels. Other ways to prevent fatigue include increasing the amount of fiber and whole grains your loved one eats daily and avoiding junk foods.
A professional caregiver can help your loved one plan and prepare nutritious meals. Every senior has different needs when aging in place. Some simply need occasional assistance with household chores, while others may be managing serious illnesses and require more extensive live-in care. Austin seniors can count on Home Care Assistance to provide the in-home care they need and deserve.
2. Cognitive Decline
Consuming high amounts of sugar and unhealthy fats can increase the risk of impaired thinking and memory loss and raise the odds of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. If your loved one is starting to have cognitive issues, poor eating habits could be a factor. Have the doctor check your parent’s brain health. If unhealthy foods are contributing to your loved one’s cognitive decline, the doctor can create a treatment plan that could include medication, diet recommendations, brain activities, and other strategies
3. Digestive Problems
Just as eating habits change with age, gastrointestinal tracts change, leading to digestive problems such as constipation and acid reflux. Inactivity and dehydration are common causes, but unhealthy eating habits can quickly spur digestive issues. Encourage your loved one to avoid foods that trigger heartburn and reflux and consume foods that contain less salt, more water, and adequate amounts of fiber.
4. Inability to Heal Properly
A warning sign that your loved one may not be eating healthy is a weakened immune system. Unhealthy foods can impair the production and activity of antibodies and immune cells. As a result, it takes the body more time to fight off dangerous bacteria and infections. If you notice your loved one taking more time to heal from an injury or a cold, diet could be a factor. Help with meal preparation, and include foods recommended by your parent’s primary care physician.
If your loved one needs help with planning and preparing healthy meals, a professional caregiver can be a wonderful resource. Senior home 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
5. Weight Fluctuation
Constant weight gain and noticeable weight loss are two of the most significant ways to discover if your loved one is skipping meals, dining out at unhealthy restaurants, or overeating. For example, if your loved one consumes too many carbohydrates, it could increase his or her weight and raise the risk of heart disease, obesity, and diabetes. To address this issue, monitor portion sizes and make sure your loved one eats more fruit, vegetables, and other healthy carbohydrates instead of pasta, bread, and potatoes. You can also use smaller plates to make entrées appear larger and prevent overeating.
In Austin, home care service agencies can be a great boon to seniors. With the help of the caregivers at Home Care Assistance, your aging loved one can lead a happier and healthier life. We offer a revolutionary program called the Balanced Care Method, which encourages seniors to eat nutritious foods, exercise and socialize regularly, and focus on other lifestyle factors that increase life expectancy. Trust Home Care Assistance to provide high-quality compassionate, professional care for your loved one. Call one of our friendly Care Managers today at (512) 623-7800.