Taking care of an aging parent or loved one when they are sick can be an intimidating and scary experience. Seniors often experience an even greater lack of appetite when sick, forgoing important vitamins and nutrients and increasing their risk for dehydration. To ensure optimal health and a faster recovery period for your aging parent or loved one, it is important to make sure that they eat foods that will help boost energy.
When seniors are sick or have a difficult time digesting foods, medical and senior care professionals recommend the BRAT diet. The acronym stands for bananas, rye, applesauce and toast. These foods are easily digested, and as an added bonus, offer high nutritional value during times of illness. This type of diet is also a great source of potassium and carbohydrates which can go a long way in providing the senior with additional strength and energy.
It is also important that caregivers ensure enough liquids are consumed to help prevent dehydration. In addition to water, sports drinks such as Gatorade or Powerade and sweet tea can rehydrate the senior while offering a boost of electrolytes. Caregivers can also prepare supplemental shakes which are easy for sick and ill seniors to consume. While they will not replace a well balanced diet, they can help the senior keep his or her strength up during the illness and recovery period.
Eating in smaller quantities throughout the day can also be beneficial for a senior. Not only does this allow the caregiver to offer a variety of different foods, eating in smaller quantities can help prevent queasiness or upset stomach. Although you may be concerned about the amount your loved one is eating, it is best not to pressure them to eating when they have little to no appetite. Instead, take advantage of the times when they are hungry by providing seconds or an additional helping and make a mental note of when increased appetite may occur. For instance, some seniors have a larger appetite in the morning, giving the caregiver an opportunity to prepare a larger meal.
If you feel that your aging loved one is suffering from a sickness or health condition that is preventing them from eating nutritious and balanced meals, schedule an appointment with their doctor. The doctor will be able to go over symptoms and possible reasons for the disease and can provide you with recommendations on how to boost vitamins, nutrients and overall strength.
For more information about senior nutrition, contact Home Care Assistance of Omaha today. We are committed to helping change the way the world ages, and offer in-home care which includes help with meal preparation, household chores, medication reminders, transportation and much more. Schedule a complimentary consultation with our Care Manager today by calling 402-763-9140.