Do you ever wonder if your senior loved one is eating well? It can become a big concern, especially for the seniors who live alone. Many times they’re just not motivated to cook.
If they’ve been losing weight, it’s very important to keep an eye on their refrigerator and their cupboards. Make sure there’s enough food in the kitchen, and be aware that elders sometimes don’t keep tabs on expiration dates.
Medications can also kill their appetite. The older we get, the less vibrant our taste buds. So, we as caregivers have to get creative to keep them eating. After my best friend’s father lost his wife, he started losing weight.
He also was nearly blind, so cooking became a problem for him. Our solution was to visit once a week and do a bit of cooking for him. The easiest ways to keep him in food were casseroles and soups. They’re easy to heat up, and often taste better the second time their eaten.
One of his favorites was a Mexican casserole. I’d layer tortillas, cheese, browned hamburger meat and enchilada sauce into a large baking dish and cook it right in his home. The smell of cooking food often will get a senior to eat – even the fussiest of eaters!
Scalloped potatoes were also one of his favorites. I would add a little diced ham to make it a hearty meal. We also tried to always make a big pot of soup for him. This was easy for him to ladle into a bowl and just pop it in the microwave. He loved beans with ham hocks. I’d also cook a pan of cornbread to go with it.
Everyone loves chicken soup, and you can often make a number of dishes out of the same cooked chicken. Even the busiest caregivers can throw on a pot of chicken soup, and then use some of the chicken in a casserole dish.
Using chicken thighs makes it very easy to take off the bone, once it’s cooked. I like to whip up a box of Stove Top Stuffing and then layer it with bits of chicken with a can of cream soup poured over the top. It’s not fancy cuisine, but it is very tasty and easy for elders to eat. It’s a good idea to lower the salt in all your recipes. If you use soup in your casseroles, you might consider buying the lower-sodium ones.
I get some recipes from the Pioneer Woman Cooks website, but there are many sites that have great casserole recipes. Her recipes are always easy to follow and have lots of pictures to show you just how it is done. Here’s the link to her casserole recipes - http://tinyurl.com/albvubp.
Another good website is at Caregiver.com - http://tinyurl.com/kpz6pc. This site has suggestions and recipes for elders with health concerns and special needs diets. The All Recipe website - http://tinyurl.com/ansscas has a plethora of good casserole recipes. But I’m sure you have some that are your senior’s favorites.
To make it very easy for your elder, buy some good food containers that you can select meal-sized portions for them. Put the name of the dish and heating instructions on the top, and perhaps even a little note on how much you love and need them.
Other foods that might keep your elder eating are those on the sweet side. Yogurts and ice cream are nearly everyone’s favorites. Try to also buy some of their favorite fruits and put them in a bowl on the countertop. This way they can’t forget to eat them!