Have you noticed your elderly parent is losing or gaining weight because of their food choices? Are they relying heavily on delivery food or fast food? Do they seem to be skipping meals or not eating healthy options, even if they are available in their homes? If you are noticing these issues in your elderly parent, it is possible they are struggling with meal preparation.
This can put their health and well-being at serious risk. As their family caregiver, it is important to be able to recognize when they are dealing with this difficulty and make changes in your care routine to help them overcome this issue and ensure they are getting all of the nutrition they need on a regular basis.
4 Ways to Help Seniors with Meal Preparation
Some things you can do for a senior who needs help with meal preparation include:
1. Double up Cooking Meals at Home
When you are preparing meals for your own family, double up the recipe and bring the leftovers to your parents the next day. This allows you to cook once but manage the needs of your family twice. You can also bring half to your parents to enjoy that day and then freeze the other half, providing a meal for later.
2. Fill Their Freezer
Set aside a day each week or every two weeks to prepare freezer meals. Casseroles, soups, and other dishes are fantastic to cook, divide into individual servings, and freeze so your senior can heat them up when they need a delicious, nutritious meal.
3. Prep for Success
Often seniors struggle with meal preparation because they have physical limitations and challenges that make it harder for them to deal with the steps of preparation, including standing for long periods or chopping. Help to make this easier for them by doing some “pre-prep” for them. After visits to the grocery store go back to your parent’s home and handle some of the first steps of preparing meals. This can include chopping vegetables and fruits, dividing up packages of meat into individual servings, and hard-boiling eggs. This simplifies the preparation of meals and snacks for greater independence.
4. Cook Together
Preparing meals is not just about the food itself. Eating is a social activity, and meal preparation should be as well. Take some time regularly to cook with your senior. Getting into the kitchen with them and preparing meals is a fantastic way to strengthen your relationship, encourage their mental and emotional health, and ensure they are eating healthy, satisfying foods.
Contact Care Options for Kids for Home Health Care Services
Starting senior care for your elderly loved one can be one of the best decisions you make in the course of your caregiver journey with them. A senior home care services provider can be with your parent on a schedule that is right for them, meaning they are available to care for your parent when and as much as they need them, and however fits in with the care efforts you already give.
It is a common misconception that senior care is only for seniors who are dealing with serious challenges or who are very “old”. This, however, is not the case. Even if your aging loved one is still active and only has mild to moderate needs, they can still receive a wide variety of benefits from care. The highly personalized services of a senior home care services provider can act as a support system, helping your parents to save time and energy for the things they want to do in life.