Some elderly loved ones have trouble with meals, for a variety of different reasons. Some of the more common causes can include too much going on during the meal, not knowing when meals are going to happen, and feeling too lonely while eating. Here are some ways to manage those troubles for your loved one.
Keep Mealtime Calm, if Possible.
The calmer your mealtimes are in general, the better for your loved one. If you have a busy family, though, meals might be chaotic by necessity. In that case, your loved one might appreciate an earlier meal, especially dinner, that’s a little calmer and more at ease. The fewer distractions and the quieter meals can be, the better for your loved one.
Meals Are Easier with a Routine.
Sticking to specific times for meals helps your loved one to stick to a routine. Routines are so important because they let your loved one know what to expect every day. Having a routine doesn’t mean that you’re always locked into it, though. If your loved one’s needs are different on one particular day, you can still modify the routine to meet those new needs.
Make Meals an Opportunity to Catch Up with Each Other.
When you’re taking care of your elderly loved one and all of your other obligations, you spend a big part of your day running around taking care of everything. Meal times can be the perfect opportunity to catch up with your loved one and to really take the time to listen to what’s going on with her. This can help you to feel more connected to your loved one.
Keep Your Loved One Involved in the Planning Process.
If your loved one doesn’t feel as if she has any say in meal planning and preparation, she’s not likely to be interested in meals. Keeping her involved can help to keep her eating as much as you’d like for her to be. Work with your loved one’s doctor to determine the best eating plan for your loved one and then work within those parameters to plan your loved one’s meals and snacks.
Let senior care providers know what your loved one’s mealtime routines are to help keep things consistent for her.