Healthy eating is important at any age, but it’s even more essential for seniors. This is because of the ways the body naturally changes with age, especially when it comes to how food is digested and processed. Also, a lack of sufficient nutrients can affect all parts of an aging body, from the brain to the feet and everything in between. Keep reading to discover several ways you can tell if your senior loved one is eating healthy.
1. Pay Attention to Weight Gain
Older adults, on average, gain about 1–2 pounds each year, according to the National Institutes of Health. Minor weight gain is usually not much reason for concern, nor is it necessarily a sign of not eating healthy.
However, if your loved one is gaining more than just a few pounds here and there, it may be due to unhealthy eating habits. This is more likely to be the case for seniors living alone who default to convenience foods that aren’t so healthy. Should this be what’s going on with your loved one, possible solutions include:
• Considering local meal delivery services
• Helping your loved one prepare healthy meals that can be frozen and heated up
• Planning and preparing meals together whenever possible
A professional caregiver with expertise in cooking nutritious meals for older adults can be a fantastic source of support for your loved one. Living independently is important for seniors who want to maintain a high quality of life. For some, this simply means receiving help with tasks that have become more challenging to manage over time. Even when families have the best intentions, they may not have the time to provide the care their elderly loved ones need and deserve. If your loved one needs help for a few hours a day or a few days a week, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a trusted provider of respite care Flower Mound seniors can depend on.
2. Determine How Well Chronic Pain Is Being Managed
Healthy eating can play a significant role in how well diabetes, high blood pressure, chronic low back pain, and other long-term or recurring health issues are managed in seniors. Sugary snacks and beverages, refined carbs, and processed meats are among the foods that can worsen the inflammation associated with chronic pain.
If your loved one is having difficulty managing chronic pain, discomfort may be minimized with foods that naturally fight inflammation. This list, according to Healthline, includes:
• Salmon, tuna, and other fatty fish
• Leafy green veggies
• Dark chocolate
• Turmeric and other healthy spices
Should your loved one be amenable to the direct approach, simply asking about his or her eating habits could be effective. Even if your loved one isn’t entirely forthcoming, bringing up the topic of healthy eating can give you an opportunity to explore healthier options. What’s more, this is something you can do together, since a healthy diet is just as beneficial for caregivers as it is for seniors.
If your loved one needs help with shopping for groceries and preparing healthy meals, a professional caregiver can be a wonderful resource. In-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.
4. Check What’s in the Fridge & Cupboards
This is a more subtle way to check up on your loved one’s eating habits, although it’s admittedly a bit sneaky. However, if you’re tactful enough, it could also be a good way to start a conversation about healthy eating, especially if you’re noticing an abundance of unhealthy foods.
5. See What Your Loved One’s Doctor Has to Say
You may also be able to get some insights into your loved one’s eating habits by talking to his or her doctor. As long as your loved one has given his or her physician permission to discuss the matter with you, the doctor should be able to tell you about any indications your loved one has diet-related issues. Plus, the physician will likely be able to recommend healthy diet options you can encourage your loved one to implement if there are nutritional concerns.
In Flower Mound, elderly home care 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. If you need professional home care for your loved one, our Care Managers are just a phone call away. Reach out to Home Care Assistance today at (972) 468-6010.