Bpc #3: How To Be Sure Your Loved One Is Eating Enough
* National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP. (2015). Caregiving in the U.S
By Brittany Stoltzfus, RD, LDN, owner of Simply Nutrition LLC in Pennsylvania
Being a caregiver of a loved one involves multiple responsibilities. This role can be stressful at times, especially when meal and snack times arrive. As people age, different medications, disease states and emotional health can influence one’s ability to eat. How can you as the caregiver know if your loved one is eating enough? Every person is unique in their exact nutrient needs so overall goals can vary person to person. A person can show physical signs of not eating enough through increased weakness, increased fatigue, and a high level of weight loss. While working with your loved one, patience is helpful. Remember, your loved one will have good days and challenging days with food intake and that is okay. Read the tips below to aid with increasing your loved one’s food intake.
When your loved one has a decreased appetite, allow them to choose what foods sound good to them. If they are interested in seconds, offer another portion. If your loved one is on a restricted diet, speak with your physician first before loosening restrictions.
Creating an enjoyable eating experience for your loved one is key. This can include eating together at the table, playing soothing music, and presenting the food in an appealing manner.
Offer 4-6 small portions throughout the day versus 3 meals. This approach provides manageable portions and variability based on individual’s needs.
On days your loved one is not as hungry, offer high calorie options such as nut butters mixed in yogurt or oatmeal, avocado toast or smoothies to boost calories.
Prepare foods with few spices or flavors. Choosing bland food such as bread, applesauce, rice, or bananas can be helpful or protein with limited seasoning.
If you notice your loved one is struggling to eat most days (4 out of 7 days), working with a registered dietitian or the team at Silver Lining Home Healthcare can be helpful for a personalized plan for your loved one.
Simply Nutrition LLC is a registered dietician-owned nutrition and wellness company focused on bettering every client’s relationship with food. They focus primarily on remote interactions (through Telehealth) to enable access to anyone. If you’re interested in learning more, visit their website.