Do you struggle to get your senior parent or loved one who receives elder care at home to eat regular meals? You are not alone, and it can be frustrating for family members and family caregivers who are dealing with an elderly loved one who does not want to eat.
There are things that you or your senior’s caregivers can do to encourage a healthy appetite, such as:
1. Get creative
Is it possible that your senior is bored with the same old meals and options, even if that’s all they ever ask for? Try getting creative with their meals by mixing things up and trying something new. Or make a menu and let them pretend they are in a restaurant. Use cookie cutters or other fun accessories to make food into playful shapes, and experiment with bright and colorful fruits and veggies that will stand out and help to encourage picky eaters.
2. Give them choices
Some seniors are stubborn, and when it comes to doing what other people say, even when they are clearly well-meaning, they just can’t cooperate. If your senior seems to have issues of defiance or never seems to want to eat what you have made, trying offering them several choices so that they can feel like they have control over this aspect of their life. For some seniors who have difficulty coming up with meals on their own, this helps them as well.
3. Use pictures
It can be hard for some elderly people who are receiving their elder care at home to envision or imagine what certain foods look like, and taste like. Think about when you are at a restaurant or looking up recipes online. It always helps to see a picture of the meal you will be making and eating and it is a lot easier to get excited about it. Find appealing pictures in recipe books or online to entice your senior and get them thinking about trying new foods and meals.
4. Use spices and herbs
If your senior needs more flavor in their food to encourage them to eat, try utilizing herbs and spices that might boost the flavor of the meals you are making. Some medications can even make the taste of food blander so this might help in those instances. Try citrus zests such as lemon or orange, or herbs like basil, cilantro, or dill. Spices like cinnamon or garlic might help to add flavor as well.
5. Change the environment
For seniors receiving elder care at home, try changing up the environment for them to see if that makes it easier to get them to eat. Make a picnic in the back yard or if the weather is cooperating, serve them lunch on the back patio in the sunlight. If your senior is used to being fed in the living room in front of the television, try changing the atmosphere and setting the table in the kitchen or dining room and even consider using nice dishes that would otherwise sit unused. Have a lunch date and invite special family members or friends that your senior will enjoy the company of.