Despite their maturity, seniors can be challenging to support and may require professional at-home care and assistance. A caregiver can help you with diverse tasks; for example, they can develop a meal plan for your loved one to ensure they maintain a healthy diet. Work with them to schedule healthy food options, stock your senior’s pantry, and more. Doing so helps your loved one maintain a healthy and diverse diet.
At Coastal Home Care, we offer meal preparation as part of our at-home elder care services. We understand the importance of preserving independence and dignity while aging. Thus, we care for patients’ physical well-being in the comfort of their own homes. For professional, warmhearted, and personalized at-home care, contact us at (866) 687-7307.
Below, we discuss some healthy meal planning tips you can implement with your at-home caregiver:
1. Choose Diverse Food Options
Eating the same foods every day wears down everybody, including older adults. So, seniors’ diets should include diverse options from each food group with minimal added sugar, saturated fats, or sodium. Buy fresh and unprocessed foods to give seniors the best nutrients available.
2. Plan Each Week in Advance
Creating a meal plan for your senior gives them a plan for each week. However, to ensure you meet their wishes, sit down with them and talk about what they want to eat. Full meal plans include breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. You or your senior’s caregiver can buy the food needed to prepare that week’s meals.
3. Give Them Healthy Protein
Although older adults should avoid fat-heavy beef and other unhealthy meats, they can still have plenty of protein. Foods like beans, peas, lentils, broccoli, seafood, dairy, and even chicken provide lean protein that supports bone and heart health.
4. Create Healthy Fruit Snacks
At-home care can be a 24/7 job, but caregivers and family members must balance it with other responsibilities. Yet preparing snack packs of sliced fruits and vegetables for your senior will help them bridge the gap between meals. These snacks can replace unhealthy options like potato chips and candy.
5. Buy Fortified Foods
Fortified foods— including numerous cereals and more—are enriched with vitamin B12. Buy these items for your senior and make sure they don’t add any sugar or other flavorings to them.
6. Use Healthy Seasoning Options
Minimize salt use and integrate healthy seasonings like parsley, sage, and oregano into your senior’s meals. Elders often have a heavy taste for salt because they’re used to salt-preserved meals. You and your caregiver must regulate their salt intake.
7. Create a Hydration Plan
Cut out sugary drinks from your senior’s diet and create a healthy hydration plan. A glass of water at every meal and lightly flavored water between meals should keep them hydrated and minimize their risk of fainting.
8. Incorporate “Double-Duty” Foods
Not all foods are made equal. Some provide what dietitians call “double duty.” For instance, apricots and legumes not only supply several vitamins but also help with inflammation. Likewise, leafy greens can improve your senior’s memory and overall cognition.
9. Stock Their Pantry Wisely
Buy items that you can always use in multiple meals, such as dried beans, pasta sauces, canned vegetables, and various whole grains. Consider things like broths, dried herbs and spices, various dairy products, and soft, fat-free margarine as staples for your senior’s pantry.
10. Let Them Have Some Fun
Seniors on a strict meal plan may rebel at times and try to eat foods that they shouldn’t. It’s okay to let them have a few snacks like potato chips from time to time. Consider buying snack pack options and letting them have one every day to minimize their empty calorie consumption.
At-Home Care for Elders in Somerset County, MD
As you can see, meal planning for elders doesn’t have to be a major challenge if you know what you’re doing. Meal planning and at-home care for older adults isn’t rocket science but it’s important to get right. Reach out to Coastal Home Care, along with a dietitian or their primary care physician, to create a meal plan that makes sense for your loved one’s needs. For first-rate at-home elder care, call us at (866) 687-7307.