Nutritional Advice and Support for Elderly

Nutritional advice for the elderly eater.
Proper nutrition is vital for the elderly for maintaining health, retaining and building bone mass, and to enable medications to work effectively in the body with fewer side effects.  Many caregivers face the problem of what can be done when their elderly loved one will not eat properly, or just cannot seem to eat enough.  It is important to realize that there are valid reasons that an elderly person may not be eating.  As the caregiver, it is crucial to understand why this is happening, and address the underlying issues.  

Here are some of the reasons seniors do not eat properly, and some corresponding nutritional advice and support for the elderly eater-
  • Reduction in smell and taste-Sometimes during the natural process of aging the elderly will lose some degree of smell and taste. Since these senses are an integral part of the eating experience, this reduction can leave seniors with an unwillingness to eat. This dietary challenge must often be met with additional seasoning and visual interest becoming a high priority in the food that the elderly person is eating.

  • Medications-Some medications can adversely affect the taste and texture of food. In addition, some medications also have side effects that make eating difficult or may act as appetite suppressants. It is crucial to work with the doctor of the elderly loved one to determine if medication is affecting the appetite. Many times, a simple switch, or reduction in dosage, can jump start the appetite of the senior.

  • Social factors- Some seniors may be unwilling or unable to cook for one person. Jump starting the elderly loved ones social life can often rev up the appetite. Eating at restaurants, senior clubs, or even meal delivery, can help if this is a factor in poor nutrition. There are many places that cater directly to seniors, and provide a social outlet as well. In addition, meal delivery can help assure that your elderly loved one is getting nutritious meals. Local organizations may have meal delivery by another senior, thus providing an outlet for some social connection.

  • Problems with chewing-Many times the elderly may be experiencing problems with teeth or gums that can affect how they eat. An unwillingness to treat these problems can have people seeking out poor nutritional choices just to get by. If the senior in your life is experiencing these problems then it is crucial to get the proper treatment. 

  • Emotional factors- Many elderly experience loneliness, depression, and other social factors that can affect their desire to eat. Regular visits from loved ones can help. If the problem is severe enough medical intervention should be considered. Helping your elderly loved one make connections with those around them can often help relieve these feeling and open up the desire to eat again.

There is a wide range of nutritional supplements to help the elderly love one in your life be able to get the proper nutrition. These supplements can be found in pudding, powder, shake, or juice form for easy eating and digestion. This way you can easily supplement your loved one's diet without overwhelming them with plates of food. Many times, elderly who have not been eating enough food cannot simply begin eating whole food again. Supplementing often means nutrition, without overloading delicate systems. In addition, offer items for those who are diabetic or have special dietary needs like high fiber.

About The CareGiver Partnership. The CareGiver Partnership helps caregivers and their loved ones with answers to their caregiving questions, including information about home health care products and supplies, from our Wisconsin-based team of Product Specialists who are all current or former caregivers. The company’s Web site provides the largest online library of resources on subjects most important to caregivers — from arthritis to assisted living, and Parkinson’s to prostate cancer — as well as access to more than 3,000 home care products for incontinence, skin care, mobility, home safety and daily living aids. The CareGiver Partnership was founded in 2004 by Lynn Wilson of Neenah, Wisc. Visit to learn more or call 1-800-985-1353.


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