As seniors age, they might frequently experience challenges with eating due to other health conditions. For instance, your loved one may be missing teeth that makes it difficult to properly chew food, or he or she may have difficulty swallowing food after a stroke. Either way, proper nutrition is still a priority that helps your loved one achieve the best possible quality of life and chances for longevity. When your loved one is having difficulty during mealtimes, you can use these four tips to make the food softer and easier to manage.
1. Steam Crunchy Vegetables
Broccoli, carrots, and cauliflower are all top choices for ingredients in healthy recipes. However, these vegetables can be difficult to eat for seniors with chewing problems. Steaming is an option for softening crunchy vegetables, and you can even find special appliances designed for this purpose so you don’t have to stand over a stove. For the best results, chop up the vegetables into manageable chunks and steam them until they’re soft. Keep in mind the vegetables need to be cut into smaller portions after steaming. You can also pre-steam the vegetables before mashing them to retain more nutrients.
Encourage your loved one to eat nutritious meals to boost longevity in the golden years. If your aging loved one needs occasional help with bathing, grooming, cooking, or other basic household tasks, or if you need time to attend to important personal matters, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of live-in and respite care. Lehigh Valley seniors can maintain their independence while living at home with the help of our reliable respite caregivers.
2. Add Nutritious Liquids
Adding liquids to foods can make them more palatable to seniors who have appetite loss. Choosing the right liquid allows you to increase the nutritional value of each meal. Try adding beef or chicken broth to recipes such as mashed potatoes to add a burst of flavor and extra protein. Alternatively, you could soak bread in milk to increase your loved one’s vitamin D intake.
3. Use a Blender
Smoothies are a favorite breakfast treat for seniors who cannot chew harder foods such as apples. However, you may not always think of using a blender when preparing other types of food. Since the flavor of fruit is stronger than vegetables, you can easily slip in a few pieces of broccoli or kale into your loved one’s breakfast smoothie. Alternatively, you can puree other recipes such as pasta dishes. While it may not look the same, spaghetti, stew, and other recipes taste very similar to the original versions even when blended.
Family caregivers and seniors can get help from a trained caregiver to prepare soft foods at home. Aging adults who require assistance with the tasks of daily living can benefit from reliable home care. Lehigh Valley, PA, families trust Home Care Assistance to provide the high-quality care their elderly loved ones need and deserve. Our caregivers are trained to help seniors prevent and manage serious illnesses and encourage them to make healthier decisions as they age.
4. Slow Cook or Dice Tough Meats
Consuming meat may be challenging for seniors who need protein but cannot chew tough cuts. Help your parent continue to enjoy the flavor of steak by choosing more tender cuts of meat and dicing it up into smaller pieces. Slow cooking meat also makes it more tender. Try roasting meat in the slow cooker or smoking a brisket on the grill. Once it’s cooked, use gravy or beef broth to soften it further and cut it into the smallest pieces possible. This way, your parent can enjoy his or her favorite source of protein.
Seniors can face a variety of age-related challenges. Though some families choose to take on the caregiving duties, there may come a time when they need a trusted Lehigh Valley home care provider. Families sometimes need respite from their duties so they can focus on their other responsibilities, and some seniors need around-the-clock assistance that their families are not able to provide. Home Care Assistance is here to help. If you want to hire a caregiver for your loved one, get in touch with us at 484-350-3874.