Food Serving Tips to Encourage Better Nutrition for Your Senior

By Robert D. Liken CPC, CTS, President

February 8, 2018

One of the most common recommendations given to family caregivers is to encourage their elderly adult to improve their diet and to get proper nutrition on a regular basis.
The nutrition that they give their body is essential to supporting health and well-being and encouraging better functioning and a high quality of life throughout their later years. If you are a family caregiver for senior who is dealing with cognitive function decline, however, you may find it this is more difficult. Many seniors who are dealing with this type of diminished functioning can struggle to get the nutrition that they need, potentially compromising their physical health and well-being, and even hastening their decline. Fortunately, there are ways that you can help your parent to get better nutrition, starting simply with how you serve their meals.

Home Care Robinson Twp PA: Nutritional Health for Seniors
Home Care Robinson Twp PA: Nutritional Health for Seniors

Use these food serving tips to encourage better nutrition for your senior:
Use plates and bowls that contrast with the tablecloth. The cognitive functioning decline can make it more difficult for your parent to detect the difference between the table and the plate and the food, making it more challenging for them to eat. Consider using a white tablecloth and brightly colored bowls and plates to make this contrast easier. Some studies have even suggested that bright colored plates can stimulate the appetite, encouraging your parent to eat more.
Try using divided plates. Some seniors will respond better to food that is organized on the plate, rather than all being served together in the center of the plate.
-Look for bowls, plates, and cups that utilize the suction cups and other features to prevent spilling and to keep the serving ware from moving around on the table. That can make it easier for your parent to feed themselves, which encourages independence and supports greater motivation during meal time.
-Avoid any scented candles, room fresheners, flower bouquets, or other items that might add fragrance to the eating area. This can interact with your parents’ ability to smell the food that they are eating, which can make the food less appealing.
-Make sure that the food you serve is at the appropriate temperature. Serving foods either hot or cold as they are meant to be increases both fragrance and flavor, making them more appealing.
-Rather than serving meals with multiple components at the same time, break up meals into several courses. Bring your parent a small amount of one or two foods at a time, allow them to eat those foods, then bring more if they are still hungry.
-Explain to your parent what each food is as you are serving it and remind them of something related to the food. Whether it is that it was their favorite when you were younger, they always served it on a certain holiday, a specific member of the family used to prepare it, or another memory, this can help your parent to feel more connected to the food and be more willing to eat it
How can home care help?
Starting elderly care for your aging parent can be one of the best decisions that you can make for them if you want to encourage their highest quality of life as they age in place. An elderly home care services provider can step in to fill care gaps, provide additional companionship and support, and help your parent to live a lifestyle that is as fulfilling, engaged, and independent as they age in place.
These services can include everything from safe and reliable transportation, assistance with tasks such as running errands, physical support to assist with mobility issues, help with keeping the home clean, personal care tasks, and more. As their family caregiver, this can give you a tremendous sense of peace of mind knowing that your loved one is in good hands both when you are with them and when you are not.

If you are considering Home Care in Robinson Twp, PA, please contact the friendly staff at Liken Home Care. Call (412) 693-6820 or (855) 856-0551