Eating right as one ages is one of the most significant aspects of establishing and maintaining the healthiest future possible. However, decades of poor eating habits can pose a significant threat to a senior’s health and longevity. The only reliable way to convert old, unhealthy habits into new, healthy habits is to respectfully break down bad habits and carefully add healthier options into the diet. While this can be tedious and often frustrating, the reward is well worth the effort.
Breaking Bad Habits
When it comes to the elderly, patterns and dietary choices are not a switch that can be turned on or off. The reality is that food choices are likely the result of one’s lifestyle, and challenging those choices is often equivalent to challenging who the senior is as a person. Therefore, the most important part of breaking bad eating habits is to approach them respectfully. By allowing your loved one to know that they are understood, respected, and a part of the decision making, the process becomes more of an exchange than a dictatorship. As a West Bloomfield live-in home care provider, we’ve noticed that simply addressing the problems presented by unhealthy food and offering an enjoyable alternative is often enough to break through the biggest barriers.
Supplementing Better Habits
Dramatic change to an elder’s diet is an easy way to make the situation worse. When it comes to their daily routine, the safest route is to work with small reductions. For example, if an older woman has too much salt in her daily diet, she will respond poorly to drastic deprivation. The easiest path in this situation is to merely reduce her salt intake slowly and replace the salt with a healthier alternative such as oregano, a spice known to add flavor without sodium. This general strategy of removing and replacing bad eating habits is one of the easiest ways to eliminate the bad habit all together.
Getting Help when Needed
Bad eating habits may also be a result of a senior’s abilities. A senior may not be able to drive, thus making it difficult to purchase fresh and healthy food on a regular basis. In some cases, a senior may struggle with mobility or frailty that makes cooking difficult or painful. When a senior’s abilities prevent them from eating healthy meals, families should offer assistance when possible. Helping with grocery shopping and providing the senior with fresh meals that are easy to freeze and reheat can eliminate the reliance on convenience foods such as canned goods or frozen dinners that are often packed with sodium. If you are unable to help, consider working with an hourly home caregiver in West Bloomfield. Caregivers can assist the senior with meal preparation and other household chores, highlighting healthy habits while promoting independence.
For more information about senior nutrition or home care, contact Home Care Assistance of West Bloomfield today. We offer flexible hourly and live-in care schedules and also provide dementia, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and stroke care in West Bloomfield. Call us at 248-283-0835 to speak with a Care Manager and schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.