Food strategies for seniors in home care.

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The information given here is for informational purposes only and is not intended to act as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or nutritional guidance.

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The Physical Process of Eating:

Atmosphere / Food Size / Eating Pace / Soft Food / Poor Appetite / Overeating

Overeating causes health problems in people of any age, but it is of particular concern among seniors. Seniors tend to be sedentary, especially if they become physically unable to move around very well. When they overeat, they can rapidly gain weight, and keep gaining.

Psychological and emotional factors, or just plain boredom, can drive certain people to turn to food consumption as an emotional release. One thing is sure: you cannot simply order the senior to cut down on eating, you cannot suggest; this just does not work.

One tactic can work: stress food quality over food quantity. Involve the senior in menu planning. Encourage the senior to taste the food fully, slowly, ingredient by ingredient. This technique is especially effective if you involve the person in the cooking process, or even in the food shopping process (if you cannot take them shopping, you can still ask them to help you plan the purchases). An equally valuable tactic is to keep the senior fully informed about and involved with nutritional issues. All these tactics have in common the fact that they turn food into a larger subject than just sitting at a table with a knife and a fork.

Review the ElderEats Eating Pace section for tips and tricks on combating the tendency to eat too quickly (this often translates into eating too much).