Senior Health & Lifestyle
What’s for dinner? Here are a few things to consider when planning a menu for a senior:
Easy to chew and swallow: Our digestive processes changes with age and seniors tend to produce 30% less saliva then they did while younger. Foods that are dry can be difficult to chew and swallow. Many senior citizens wear dentures, so tough meats and raw vegetables can be difficult to chew. When planning a meal, it’s best to select softer foods that are easy to eat.
Lower in salt: Most seniors have salt restrictions to reduce the risk of water retention and high blood pressure. Cooking with low or no salt is best, while processed foods and salted meats should also be avoided.
Make it tasty: Prescription medications can affect the flavor of foods and as we age our sense of smell and taste also changes. Foods that once were tasty may taste bland to the elderly. When preparing a meal for a senior adding savory (but not spicy) seasonings will make a meal taste more flavorful.
Use recipes with lots of nutrition: Most seniors tend to have smaller appetites which can contribute to weight loss. Instead of preparing light & lean meals, meals that are high in nutrition and calories can help a senior maintain a healthy weight.
Ask: Sometimes the simplest way of planning a meal for a senior is to ask him/her what they might enjoy eating. Most seniors know what kinds of foods are agreeable and what might lead to indigestion. Instead of deciding on your own what type of entree to prepare for a senior, it’s really best to ask first what he or she might prefer eating.
Posted by: Frank Esposito, Vice President of Expert Home Care. New Jersey’s Expert Home Care provides professional and reliable home health care and companion care for NJ elderly, helping them with their daily living activities since 1984. Please call us toll free at 800-848-2336 when you have home care related questions or need assistance for a loved one. Get a Free Home Care Assessment (a $375 value!) when you mention this post.