Food is considered to be a universal language. We use it to celebrate, to commiserate, to connect, and, most importantly, to fuel our bodies. Unfortunately, as we age, this need to fuel ourselves can become less prevalent. Changing lifestyles, lack of appetite, and mental degeneration can all create a scenario in which elderly individuals avoid meal time altogether.
If you find yourself as the caregiver for an elderly loved one, it may be difficult to encourage daily meal times. If you are looking to motivate your aging loved one to eat, here are three easy tips for encouraging senior meal time.
1. Presentation Is Key
The best way to ensure that your loved one eats is to make food that looks appetizing. Food that will draw your loved one into mealtime will be beneficial. You don’t need to be plating meals as though you were a Michelin starred restaurant — you just need to place an emphasis on visual contrast.
Serve your food on plates that allow colors to pop. Mashed potatoes and gravy will look especially appetizing when offset against a coral blue plate. Try to find colors that contrast with one another. Carrots, bell peppers, and tomatoes are all healthy vegetables that add a bright pop of color to any dish.
2. Get Help When Needed
Sometimes, the best way to ensure your loved one gets ample nutrition is to alleviate them of the stress of cooking. For those who are entering into their golden years, cooking can be stressful. There’s the precise measuring of ingredients, the labor of manipulating different utensils, and all of the clean up that follows.
To ensure that cooking is not a stressful experience, help out. Enlist some of your healthcare network to provide home cooked meals. You can even get a home health aide, to live with your loved one and provide healthy dinner on a consistent basis.
3. Set a Schedule for Mealtime
Another great way to encourage your loved one to partake in mealtime is to practice a consistent schedule. If your loved one is currently living with a degenerative mind disease, such as Alzheimer’s, a schedule can be a beacon of light in a confusing world. By creating a schedule, mealtimes will cease to be a source of confusion, and start being a tether of consistency.