There is considerable stress when caring for a senior. Caregivers have the physical and emotional stress of caring for an older adult. It seems that there is a myriad of things that need to be done each day, and not enough time to do them all. This is when stress can often intrude on the life of a caregiver.
One of the major stressors many senior caregivers face is meal preparation. Preparing consistently nutritious meals while meeting a variety of other needs for the senior in your care is no easy task. Advance planning is critical to successfully preparing meals that satisfy both creativity and proper nutrition.
5 Questions To Ask Concerning Meal Prep
When planning meals, it’s helpful to ask these five questions concerning the senior you care for:
- Do they have a condition that restricts their diet?
- Do they need supplements to meet nutrition requirements?
- Have you received advice from a family member or doctor about their nutritional needs?
- Do they have favorite recipes?
- Do you enjoy cooking, or would you like to reduce your time in the kitchen?
Answering these questions can help you formulate a plan to meet the nutritional needs of the senior in your care. At the same time, it lets them participate in meal planning by allowing them to provide you information about their favorites. All of this serves to reduce caregiver stress level and make meal preparation something you can enjoy doing.
Meeting Nutritional Needs
As we age, our nutritional needs change. Many older adults have dietary restrictions based on the onset of medical conditions. Talking with their doctor and family members about special dietary needs will allow you to meet their nutritional needs in an informed manner. These are some tips on proper nutrition for older adults:
- Seniors eating a diabetes-friendly diet need to limit their sugar intake. This includes not only desserts, but sugars in refined flour and fruit as well.
- People with end-stage renal disease may be on a special renal diet geared towards preserving kidney function. They may also be on a dialysis diet, which is designed to be compatible with dialysis treatments.
- A high-protein diet is an essential part of keeping an older adult strong and healthy. You may need to focus on specific proteins and nutrients in their diet.
- If there is a lack of appetite, doctors may recommend nutritious, supplemental shakes. They may also suggest focusing on a specific food group. If the senior you care for has difficulty swallowing, a pureed diet might be best for them.
Creativity and Variety In Meal Preparation
We all love variety in our meals, which is one of the reasons we like dining out. You may not be taking the senior you’re caring for out for meals, but you can bring variety and creativity into the kitchen at home.
One of the best ways to ensure an older adult has variety in their diets is to include them in meal planning. Ask them what their favorites are. You may have to jog their memories by asking them what they had during family meals when they were growing up, what they prepared for their families when they were raising children, or what they liked to eat for special occasions, such as their birthday or holidays.
They may surprise you with the list of meals that they would like to have made for them. You’ll need to make sure these meals meet their nutritional needs and are something that you have the necessary cooking skills to prepare. Don’t be too proud to say you can’t make something; maybe you can substitute a similar meal that you can prepare.
A Healthy Meal Options For Seniors
Good sources of protein are essential for every meal. Breakfast may be the most important because it’s their first meal of the day. Some breakfast ideas that provide proper nutrition and variety are:
- Warm oatmeal and berries
- A hard-boiled egg
- Whole-grain pancakes or waffles
- Yogurt parfait
- Whole wheat toast with peanut butter and fruit on the side
- A poached egg
Salmon, shrimp, pasta, fresh greens, and black beans are great ideas for nutritious lunches or dinners.
Meal preparation doesn’t need to be an unnecessary stressor for senior caregivers. Consulting with family members and with the senior you are caring for will put you on the right track towards preparing creative and nutritious meals.
We Love Helping Seniors Stay Healthy
Encouraging an aging loved one to eat healthy and nutritious meals at home can be challenging if you have your own household to manage or live far away. When you need a hand contact Adultcare Assistance Homecare. As a locally owned, award-winning agency with 20+ years of experience the goal of our professionally trained caregivers is helping seniors stay healthy and independent right in the comfort of their own home. At Adultcare Assistance Homecare, every manager is a caregiver first, and manager second.
We offer the families we serve flexible schedules and services that don’t require long-term contracts. For your added convenience we provide on-call, 24/7 care supervisors and personalized care plans that accommodate any budget. To learn more about why Adultcare Assistance Homecare is now recognized as a top-tier provider in Sun City, Tucson and Phoenix, AZ, or to complete our FREE online home care assessment today, please visit us at: www.adultcareassistance.com!