By: Zyana Morris
Healthy diets and good nutrition are a very important factor for maintaining life-long health. It’s especially important for seniors who may be struggling with chronic health issues and are in need of special diets.
Seniors often struggle to prepare their own nutritious meals. This can be due to inaccessibility of healthy ingredients or a lack of mobility as they age. Not being able to prepare meals is dangerous for seniors because it is very important for them to consume a healthy and balanced diet.
When seniors face challenges accessing and preparing their meals, this can lead to dangerous complications. Potential complications of poor nutrition in seniors include outcomes like a weakened immune system that make them more prone to illness and infection. Other issues include general bone and muscle weakness, which can make them more prone to injury due to falls.
Professional in-home care providers and nutritionists offer various home health care services to seniors. This home health care assistance can alleviate the hardship, stress, and difficulty of shopping for and preparing healthy meals and preparing special diets. Heath care workers can also assist in feeding senior clients to ensure that they’re managing their diets, and medications, responsibly and effectively.
Here are three ways that home health workers can help maintain a healthy diet for seniors.
Some seniors find it difficult to get to the store. Driving themselves may become tiring and dangerous, and suitable and timely transportation may also be frustrating to arrange. Even just carrying groceries in from the trunk of a vehicle and stocking them in the fridge and cupboards may prove too much for some older adults.
Choosing the right foods and reading labels can also prove a daunting task for many seniors. That’s where personal shoppers can help pick the right foods and plan meals to hit the most important nutritional goals. While seniors are always encouraged to go along to the store with the aide, it’s also perfectly okay if the older adult stays home while the grocery shopping is done without them.
A home health care worker who specializes in meal preparation, nutrition and diet planning can help with all aspects of the budgeting, shopping, preparation, cooking, and storage of food.
Special dietary restrictions and regimes advised by doctors and other medical professionals can be daunting and hard to follow. Seniors may not have the skills or experience to prepare foods in new and different ways to meet their changing dietary needs.
This is where a trained meal preparer can become a literal lifesaver. Aides can help seniors choose new dishes to experiment with and try, taking care of all of the meal prep and cleanup. This ensures that the healthy meals actually get made and that the diet plan is followed, even if the senior can’t do all of the work themselves.
Home health care workers can choose and prepare meals that make eating easier for older adults that need additional help. In addition to physically helping adults eat, preparing soft foods like breads, dips, stews, and soups are all great alternatives to more elaborate and hard to eat meals.
Prepping and serving the main meal in the middle of the day, or multiple smaller snack-like meals throughout the day, can also help older adults with digestive issues get the calories and nutrition they need to stay healthy.
It can be lonely and isolating to live alone, but a home health worker can help alleviate some of the challenges. Another essential area where home health aide workers can help out is in providing comfort and companionship to older adults determined to keep living at home.
Employing a home health worker to plan and implement the nutritional needs of a senior will keep them healthy, and help them beat feelings of depression and loneliness. Home health care workers can become an extra helper, and friend, as they form a lasting bond and relationship through service, while also ensuring a senior stays independent in their own home.