How to Ensure Proper Nutrition for the Elderly

nutritionWhen you’ve reached the age of senescence, would you still have the same appetite you have today? Would you be able to maintain your weight? Would you be able to lose more weight than usual and unable to maintain a good one? With the elderly, ensuring proper nutrition can be a challenge. With the aging process, the digestive system also slows down with all its processes – even digestion. As such, gastric emptying is delayed and the elderly may still feel full even after eight hours of no food. Here are some tips on how you can ensure the elderly gets proper nutrition:

  • Serve food in a well-ventilated area. Ensure adequate lighting and prevent additional stimulus to prevent the elderly from getting distracted while eating.
  • Provide safe, appropriate and clean utensils for eating. Use non slip mats to avoid spills and promote easier feeding.
  • If there is a need to use smaller spoons or teaspoons, do provide them to prevent choking and difficulty in handling the eating utensils.
  • For elderly with difficult in drinking through a glass, provision of straw or special drinking cups will help.
  • Ensure that the food being served is within the prescribed amount and character. Some elderly may require foods that are easier to chew like mashed potatoes or soft-boiled egg. Consult with dietitians from bristol care services on preparing the right food for the elderly.
  • Consider the choice of the elderly in preparing the food. Make sure to include his favorite food to ensure that he will eat the food prepared for him. Change the menu routine so as to provide variety.  Try to avoid foods that may tend to stick to the palate or the teeth, making it difficult to chew or shallow and may pose as a choking hazard.

Tips for care in the home:

Do not feed the elderly when they are sleepy. The possibility of choking is high with the weakened digestive system as part of the aging process as well as an existing health condition.

Do not rush the feeding process. Ensure that the elderly will eat in the normal course of the meal and will not rush to finish the food. Prevent showing any signs that you have to do something else when he or she is eating. This may trigger a reaction such as disinterest to eat or stopping to eat in the middle of the meal.

Prepare food attractively. Consult friends or browse the internet on how to prepare food to help stimulate the appetite.

Observe for any signs of difficulty such as too big dentures and hard to chew foods. Monitor for signs of aspiration like redness of the face when swallowing or holding the throat when a big amount of food had been swallowed. Make sure that there is a glass of water within reach to assist with swallowing.

Feeding the elderly is indeed a challenge, especially when caring for them at home. Without proper training and understanding of their health condition and mental status, it would be difficult to feel empathy and passion with feeding them. As such primary caregivers at home are advised to consult professional specialists in caring for the elderly so as to avoid burn out and stress.

Top Reasons Why the Elderly Refuse to Eat

depressionHave you ever wondered what happens to your body when you grow old? Did you ever wonder why older people are difficult to feed? In fact, those without any underlying health conditions refuse to eat. There are quite a number of reasons why elderly people do not want to eat. Most of them are related to health conditions and should be noted for intervention. The following are the common reasons why the elderly refuse to eat:

Reduced Appetite. An older person’s reduced appetite is commonly caused by an illness. When the illness is treated, appetite usually goes back to normal. However, there are old people who manifest loss of appetite for no apparent reason. This can be attributed to anxiety, grieving and depression. Most of the time, this is the problem that most families as well as BlueBird Care personnel encounter in caring for the elderly.

Reduced Smell and Taste. As you grow older, the olfactory function loses its integrity, too. Some may also experience loss of the ability to discriminate the difference between smells. This is a common finding for people with ages 80 years and above. The central nervous system starts to deteriorate as the aging body cannot reproduce mature cells anymore. As such, no matter how tasty a food is, the elderly may not be able to appreciate it because of the loss or diminished the integrity of this body function.

Dental Health Issues. Have you seen an old person with complete set of teeth still intact? That is quite a rare one if ever you do know someone with a healthy set of teeth despite old age. Demineralization is a process that happens to the bones. This is also a process that happens to the teeth. Elderly people usually have no complete set of teeth as they enter the age of 70 and above. Some have complete dentures as early in their 50’s. When this happens, the food that the elderly person eats may take time in the mouth. This means that he or she may chew longer than usual, causing the food to lose taste or increase the satiety value of the food on the first few bites. Consequently, the appetite is satisfied with the first few spoonfuls and the elderly may not finish the meal allocated to her.

Effects of Medication. Elderly people usually take medications for the control or management of their illness. Some of these medications leave a taste in the mouth, which contributes to the loss of appetite. In addition, some medications leave a taste in the mouth when you burp, which is also a contributory factor in reduced appetite. This is why oakham homecare services admonish families to have the elderly take medications with fruit juices to mask the taste of the medication.

Social Isolation. The age of senescence can be quite lonely for people who have lost their partner early in their life. When the family support system cannot be present to help the individual cope, most of the time, the elderly losses their interest and may remain passive despite efforts of care from caregivers. The absence of close family members may increase the tendency of the elderly for depression as well as social isolation, which can later on lead to loss of appetite and succumbing to illness.

What the public think of home care services

Home-Care-in-minutes

We recently had the opportunity to see some statistics from readers of The Guardian newspaper in the UK. The statistics were about homecare services and allowed people to share their thoughts on aspects of it.

As a team, we are personally big fans of the whole domiciliary care industry. One of our team members in particular (I won’t name them) had to hire a northampton dementia care agency to take care of her mother. She is very close to her mum and it was a difficult decision for her to make. Now her mum is happy with the regularly carer visiting her home and she’s happy because of that.

Back to the statistics…

The first question asked about peoples experiences over the last two years and asked how easy it was to achieve specific things. We’ll share some of the interesting stats and you can go ahead and view them yourself at the end. The biggest number of “difficults” was for choosing how home care services are delivered, 70% of people said this was difficult. Another big difficulty people reported was with changing care provider if someone is not happy with the care. This is unfortunate as it is a big worry for many people. A plus side is that 42% of people said it is easy to make a complaint – at least you can express your thoughts! Continue reading

Hello world! The beginning of N-Tolerance

Welcome to N-Tolerance.co.nz!

A healthy news site (literally) bringing you the latest news from the health and organic food industry to help you achieve a more healthy lifestyle.

We’re a small team of writers in Wellington NZ, that run a small number of blogs on various topics relating to lifestyle. This blog in specifically will be more tailored around news in the health industry, but we’ll also add a touch of personality into the posts to make it some what entertaining to you all.

ntol-team

We hope you enjoy the website and welcome to the beginning :)