Just like the rest of our bodies, our teeth suffer wear and tear as we age. Many seniors experience tooth loss and difficulty chewing, which can cause problems with nutrition and appropriate caloric intake. Around 30 percent of seniors over the age of 70 have no remaining teeth, and express difficulty chewing foods or discomfort eating. Saliva production also decreases with age, which can impact your senior’s ability to chew and swallow tough or crunchy foods. Other factors that may impact nutritional intake are unappealing foods and an unbalanced diet. Personal care at home can assist your senior in their meal planning and preparation to ensure a proper nutritional profile.
How to Plan A Menu For Your Senior
One of the biggest tasks for looking after your senior is properly planning their menu. A senior who doesn’t enjoy their food is less likely to make the effort to eat, which can result in poor nutrition and contribute to a range of health problems.
A personal care at home specialist can design and prepare menus for your senior that gives minimal discomfort chewing, gives appropriate nutrition and is enjoyable.
Here are some tips for preparing a delicious, nutritious menu for your senior.
Balance your textures. Aim for softer foods that require minimal chewing to reduce discomfort for your senior.
Aim for adequate protein. An appropriate protein intake for your senior is around 0.5g per pound; this will help maintain muscle tone and strength.
Use a systematic planning method. Create a weekly menu with a rotation of around 3 different options for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Interspersing nutritional snacks can also help boost caloric intake for your senior.
Make sure the meals are palatable. Providing tasty, nutritious food will help your senior enjoy their meals and eat adequate amounts. Use a variety of ingredients to stimulate appetite.
Select appropriate ingredients. Many seniors experience reduced spice tolerance as well as difficulty chewing. Avoid foods like chili and excessive garlic and ginger, as these can cause stomach upsets.
What Are Some Ways To Help Your Senior Overcome Difficulty Chewing?
There are many ways to navigate around your senior’s difficulty with chewing and nutritional intake. With personal care at home, specialists work to provide solutions to common issues faced by seniors with chewing.
Some helpful tips for your senior are:
Provide beverages with meals. Often when your senior has difficulty chewing, they will also experience difficulty swallowing. Providing beverages with meals can lubricate the throat and make swallowing easier.
Make sure dentures fit correctly. One of the most common reasons for seniors to experience discomfort chewing is the incorrect fitting of dentures. Make sure your senior has firm-fitting dentures to present slipping or rubbing during eating.
Use gravy or sauces. Saliva production reduces as we age. Use gravy or sauces to add flavor to your senior’s meals and add necessary moisture to reduce discomfort.
Prepare raw fruits and vegetables appropriately. Raw fruits and vegetables are high in fiber, and can be difficult to chew for seniors. Shred them or cut them into small bite-sized pieces before serving.
Provide soft snacks. Seniors who experience difficulty chewing may not be able to handle full meals, which can impact nutritional intake. Try providing soft snacks with different flavor profiles, like tuna sandwiches, mashed banana and oatmeal to increase caloric intake.
Personal Care at Home Aides can Implement These Tips
If your senior experiences discomfort chewing, it can be difficult to persuade them to eat and ensure that they are receiving adequate nutrition. Every senior is different, and it’s important to understand levels of tolerance to foods and texture when planning menus for your loved one.
Our personal care at home specialists can help your senior with menu planning, preparation and provide recommendations on appropriate food texture and consistency. Contact us to learn more about our services today!
Nutrition for Older Adults: Chewing, Swallowing, and Nutrition | Oklahoma State University (okstate.edu)
If you or a senior family member are considering hiring Personal Care at Home Services in Paramus NJ, please contact the caring staff at Caring Solutions Home Care LLC. In-home senior care servicing Bergen & Passaic Counties. Call today at (973) 427-3553.
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