Getting the right foods into your senior’s diet is less about the food itself and more about what your elderly family member needs in terms of nutrition. Understanding a little bit about some of those recommendations and how they meet your senior’s needs can make changing her diet a little easier.
Lots of health issues require that seniors eat diets that are lower in sodium. This can be difficult to do if your senior is eating a lot of packaged and processed foods, because they’re often high in sodium. It’s easy to think that this means cutting out all sodium, but your senior does still need some salt in her diet. The goal here is to reduce her salt intake.
Diets that are lower in sugar are also a common recommendation from doctors. This might be necessary because of blood sugar issues, like with diabetes, but they’re also recommended for people with other health issues. Sugar, like salt, is used a lot in pre-packaged foods.
You might think that all of the nutritional recommendations your elderly family member might get could involve calorie restriction and related activities. But if she’s dealing with some health issues, like COPD, she may have trouble maintaining her weight. In cases like that, she may need to learn how to eat in a way that is healthy but that gives her the higher calorie content that she needs.
Losing muscle mass is a common problem for aging family members. Eating a diet that is high enough in protein can help her to avoid that concern. Your senior’s doctor might recommend that she tracks the macronutrients of what she eats so that she’s getting enough of the different nutrients, like protein, that she needs.
Food Interfering with Medication
If your elderly family member is taking a variety of different medications, she might not think about how her diet and her prescription medications interact. But food is in essence a chemical, just like medications are. And some foods, like grapefruit, don’t play well with things like blood pressure and other medications. It’s worth educating yourself about the medications your senior takes and how they interact with certain foods.
Homecare providers can help you and your elderly family member to work out the real-world implications of what her doctor has advised her to eat. Homecare providers can make it a lot easier for your senior to enjoy foods that she loves while still getting the nutrients that she needs. And they can do that while also taking some work off your hands.