Is Your Mom Eating Healthy Meals?
When you visited your aging mom over the Thanksgiving holiday, you noticed that she let others do the cooking – which is unusual, because she’s always loved preparing big family meals.Has she lost interest?
Is she having trouble remembering or reading the recipes?
Is arthritis limiting her ability to pick up heavy pots and pans?
What does she do when others aren’t there to help? Are her meals healthy or just convenient?
Factors at Play
“There could be many factors at play,” said Sierra Goetz, co-founder and operations manager at the HomeCare Advocacy Network (HCAN). “We know that, for some of our clients, cooking just isn’t fun anymore – especially if they live alone and are just cooking for themselves. For others, limited mobility, cognitive decline and worsening vision can make it more difficult to put a healthy meal on the table and clean up afterward.”
Good nutrition is important at any age – but it’s especially important for seniors. A balanced diet can improve energy levels and control weight. It can also prevent some diseases, such as osteoporosis, high blood pressure, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and certain cancers.
To maintain a healthy diet, experts say your senior should:
- Eat foods that have a lot of nutrients but not a lot of extra calories – like fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, seafood, lean meats, poultry and eggs.
- Avoid foods with lots of calories but few nutrients, such as chips, candy soda and alcohol.
- Pick foods that are low in cholesterol and fat.
- Drink plenty of fluids. Some people lose their sense of thirst as they age, and certain medications make it even more important to drink plenty of fluids.
Meal Prep Services
“At HCAN, we know that it’s not always possible for families to make sure their aging loved ones are eating healthy, nutritious meals. That’s where we come in,” Goetz said. “As part of our customized care plans, our professional caregivers can help seniors shop for healthy foods, prepare balanced meals and clean up afterward. They also add an ingredient not found on any plate – companionship. When meals are shared with others, they’re more enjoyable and often more nutritious.”