If you are having an elderly relative over for a meal, or they are staying with you for an extended period of time, this can present meal prep challenges. You may have to alter your regular family menu to accommodate their dietary needs. Here are some helpful tips to make catering for elderly relatives easier.
Avoid Complex Meals with Complex Service Styles
Elderly eaters can feel alienated by overly complex meals with complicated styles of service. Though burritos and tacos may be a fun way to feed teenagers and young children, meals like these can put an elderly person’s coordination skills and dental work to the test.
Try to keep meals easy to eat physically as well as palatable and simple to digest. Stay away from complicated flavors and ingredients too, like spices. These can cause discomfort in delicate stomachs.
Thicken Food and Beverages to Make Them Easy to Swallow
It can become harder to swallow some foods and drinks in old age, especially if they have a very thin consistency. Many people suffer from a condition called dysphagia which can prevent them from successfully swallowing many liquids. Having some SimplyThick on hand can help; it can be used to thicken juices and sodas, as well as many liquid foods like soups and gravy, to a more palatable consistency for the elderly. This can help you ensure they are getting adequate nutrition.
Consider Their Medical Dietary Needs
Many elderly people have conditions and ailments that require them to avoid certain foods or to eat at specific times. When catering for the elderly, it is important to consider all these factors when planning family meals or preparing meals for them to eat on their own schedule.
Diabetes is a common problem in the elderly and certain foods should be avoided to help them manage their blood sugar levels. Look for ingredients with a low glycemic index and pay attention to the timing of their meals to make sure their blood sugar remains balanced throughout the day.
Get the Whole Family Involved
When preparing and cooking family meals that are inclusive for elderly relatives get everyone involved, especially younger children. It is a learning opportunity for them and prevents them asking awkward questions at the dinner table about their elderly relative’s meal.
Get your elderly relative involved too. This helps them to feel a part of the process and take some ownership over their meal prep. Food is a fantastic way to connect different generations. Bring the family together in the kitchen before you bring them together around the dinner table.
Get Them Involved in Grocery Shopping and Menu Choices
Living with and providing for elderly relatives can be full of challenges, but also many blessings. Grocery shop with them so they can help choose their foods for themselves, helping them to maintain their sense of independence. They may even have a few grocery shopping tips from back in the day that can save you time and money. These small trips can be precious one on one time with an elderly parent.
Next time you are catering for an elderly relative, either for just one meal or an extended period of time, remember these top tips. They can help you ensure your beloved relative is well cared for and enjoys a nutritious and tasty diet.
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