If your elderly family member is acting as if meals are just too complicated for her to manage, there might be more going on. Here are some of the possibilities and some ideas for solving the problems.
Does Her Mouth Hurt?
One of the biggest reasons for difficulty eating is pain related to the mouth, gums, or teeth. Your senior might not mention that any of these areas are hurting for multiple reasons. If she hasn’t been keeping up with dental visits, now might be the time to schedule an appointment. Ruling out pain and dental issues can help you to find other solutions, too.
Is She Alone a Lot?
Spending a lot of time alone can also impair your senior’s appetite. Many people don’t realize that loneliness affects their ability and desire to eat until they’re spending way more time alone than they expected. Your senior may not be spending as much time around friends and family members as she used to, which can have a huge impact on her ability to continue to eat healthy meals.
Are Meals Too Much?
For some older adults, the concept of what a meal is or should be is different than it used to be. Your senior may not be doing as much as she used to do, which can affect how hungry she feels. Or she might simply find that she gets “too full” when she tries to eat a full meal. Whatever is creating the situation, there are ways around it that can help her to get the nutrition she needs without inadvertently avoiding food.
Is Cooking and Eating Special Meals Complicated?
Sometimes it’s not the meal itself, it’s the effort involved that feels overwhelming for your senior. This might even be true if she’s not eating a special diet. Cooking for just one person is something that a lot of people have issues with, no matter what their age is. There may be solutions that you and your senior can agree on here, too, but you need to determine that this is the problem in order to do so.
One answer that can solve a lot of these situations is to bring in home care services providers. They have experience in helping family caregivers to sort out some of these concerns and start noticing what’s really at the heart of the matter. Home care services providers can also help with the hands-on tasks of cooking and cleaning up afterward.