A Family Caregiver’s Guide to Meal Planning for Elderly Parents

Nutrition for Elderly IndividualsNutrition is important for everybody and dietary requirements change from person to person and age group to age group. For seniors, proper nutrition is crucial, especially for those who may have specific medical requirements or who suffer from a condition such as diabetes or memory loss.  At Spring Hills, we ensure that our seniors get the nutrition they need, whether they reside at one of our assisted living facilities or receive our home care services. Our experienced and exceptional caregivers are experts in seniors’ health and wellness and are skilled in meal preparation and dietary planning.

Dietary Guidelines for Senior Nutrition

There are a few helpful meal planning guidelines for elderly individuals, designed to ensure their nutritional needs are met.

Daily Recommended Servings

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends:

  • 5 – 2 servings of fruit
  • 2 – 2.5 cups of vegetables
  • 1,200 mg of calcium – from dairy or alternatives like tofu, broccoli, almonds, etc.
  • 6 – 7 ounces of grains
  • 65 grams of protein

In general, it is recommended that seniors reduce their sodium intake to 1500 mg a day maximum, reduce cholesterol, and decrease calories that come from saturated fats and sugars. Whole grains are recommended over refined grains. Of course, every individual is different and it is important to consult with a doctor about what may be recommended. In any case, our caregivers and signature dining services are able to tailor meals to suit the needs and preferences of your loved one.

Tips and Tricks for Planning Meals for Seniors

When coming up with an elderly meal plan, there are some considerations to keep in mind.

  • Some seniors may have difficulty chewing or swallowing. For these individuals, soft foods in small bites are best. Fruits and vegetables can be pureed or finely chopped while grains can be cooked for a softer texture. Additionally, juices and other fluids can be thickened so that they don’t trickle down the throat as quickly.
  • Many seniors begin to eat less, especially if their senses of smell and taste have begun to dampen. By packing flavor into their food, you can make eating enjoyable again. There are many ways to flavor food without salt – herb and spice mixes, for example. Serve fruits and vegetables with stronger flavors – zesty peppers to pep up an otherwise mild salad, for example, or add a sweet and tart berry medley onto plain oatmeal.
  • Often, people are more likely to eat with other people. Join your loved ones for dinner, or bring them to a potluck.

Senior-Friendly Meal Planning from Dedicated Caregivers

Through both the assisted living and home care services of Spring Hills, caregivers are available to assist with meal planning and preparation and our dining services are always creating new and tasty meal options. In each of our senior care services, we utilize the needs and preferences of seniors to create meals that are not only nutritious but also enjoyable! After all, food really is the heart of life.

Let our friendly team of caregivers introduce you to our nutritious and holistic dining services of Spring Hills. Contact us to speak with a member of our team.