Weight loss in the elderly is a common problem, and it can increase their chances of numerous illnesses and complications. Seniors lose weight for a variety of reasons, including stress, sickness, medication side effects, ill-fitting dentures, or simply decreased appetite. If you’re worried your loved one is losing too much weight, here are some tips from the Bloomfield senior care experts at Home Care Assistance that can help put the pounds back on.
Make Meals More Appealing
As we age, our taste buds change and sometimes when a senior is struggling with a lack of appetite it’s because their meals no longer taste flavorful or look appealing. Many experts recommend making meals more interesting by serving brightly colored foods, particularly red and orange ones like bell peppers, tomatoes, strawberries, or carrots, which research shows stimulates appetite. You can also try using brightly colored placemats, utensils, or glasses.
Mix It Up
With a little planning and creativity, it’s easy to add some extra calories to meals your senior loved one already enjoys. For instance, if you’re making soup, try adding some cream or cheese to it. If you’re making mashed potatoes, blend in whole milk or sour cream. There are endless ways to bulk up meals, often making them more appealing in the process. If your senior loved one has health concerns, like high cholesterol, consult with his or her doctor before using high-fat foods to increase caloric intake.
Few people will turn down their favorite food, and this may be the key to helping your loved one gain weight. If you don’t already know, ask your loved one what kinds of foods he or she enjoyed growing up. Aside from eating more at dinner, he or she may also find comfort and joy in these traditional dishes, which could further stimulate appetite. The goal is to put weight on, but not be unhealthy. So if your loved one’s favorite dishes are high in bad calories, meet them in the middle and use a combination of low-fat or nonfat substitutes along with a few regular ingredients.
Take Advantage of Supplemental Nutrition
Sometimes, your aging loved one may not get enough proper nutrition from food alone. Try giving them fortified shakes as part of their daily diet. You can even prepare milkshakes yourself, which allows you to tailor them to your loved one’s needs and tastes. Try adding things like cream, bananas, honey, coconut milk and peanut butter to make a tempting treat. For a total nutrition boost, add some multivitamin and protein powder.
If you’re concerned with your senior loved one’s nutrition but unable to grocery shop or prepare meals yourself, find a caregiver in Bloomfield who can. Home Care Assistance provides both part-time and live-in caregivers who can assist with running errands, transportation, grocery shopping, cooking, medication reminders, and bathing. Most importantly, our caregivers make your senior loved one’s health, wellbeing, and safety their number one priority. Call us today at (248) 283-0835 to schedule a complimentary in-home consultation.