You want your senior family members to be happy and healthy.
An important part of this is ensuring they’re getting plenty of delicious and nutritious foods to eat on a daily basis. After all, lack of nutrients can lead to physical, mental, and emotional health problems, compounding any health issues they might be currently dealing with.
Unfortunately, many U.S. seniors are dealing with something known as “food insecurity,” and it’s something which every adult child and caregiver needs to be aware of in order to protect their loved ones.
What Is Food Insecurity and Why Should You Worry About It?
When first confronted with the concept of food insecurity, you might think it has to do with seniors dealing with hunger. So much more is involved, though.
Food insecurity in seniors has to do with whether they’re getting
- Enough food
- An abundance of nutrient-dense foods
- Foods which are safe for consumption
Cleanliness is a huge issue when it comes to food insecurity. Since many seniors have a harder time caring for their daily needs, taking the time to clean and prepare foods can be difficult. Additionally, keeping up with chores, like cleaning their kitchen and their dishes, doesn’t always happen.
Preparing food in unclean conditions can lead to illness since bacteria and other microorganisms can easily grow in these conditions.
Another concern: Is your loved ones are getting nutrient-rich foods – and plenty of them?
Because seniors aren’t always able to run their own errands, they don’t always have access to healthy foods. They could end up ordering takeout way too often, or they could forego eating multiple meals altogether.
Their physical abilities also play a role here. If your loved one is dealing with health issues or depression, they might not experience hunger. If they don’t want to eat, they could end up missing out on getting the calories and nutrients they need to stay healthy.
Ill-fitting dentures can also contribute to the issue. When dentures don’t fit, they rub against the gums, leading to sores and discomfort. Eating simply isn’t appealing when you’re dealing with a painful mouth.
Home Care & Adult Day Care Ensure Your Loved Ones Gets the Nutrition They Need
A great way to ensure your loved ones don’t end up with food insecurity is to get some outside assistance.
Home care and/or adult day care can help your senior loved ones in the following ways. They can:
- Do chores around the house, like cleaning the kitchen and washing the dishes
- Run errands and pick up some healthy, nutritious, and delicious foods
- Help prepare or provide meals which are rich in nutrients
- Provide company needed to reduce feelings of loneliness or depression
- Monitor your loved one’s health and hunger levels to catch illness and other issues early
- Encourage your loved one to eat even if they’re not feeling hungry during an illness or recovery period
- Educate your and your parent on the importance of healthy food, how to find it, and ways to prepare it
Monitoring Your Loved Ones Closely for Food Insecurity Can Protect Them from Harm
Many seniors in the U.S. suffer from food insecurity. The causes range from not having access to clean, healthy foods to not eating due to loneliness and depression.
Your parents don’t have to be part of this statistic. By keeping a close eye on them, you can protect them from hunger, malnutrition, and illness.
It can be difficult to care for all the needs of senior parents when you have so many responsibilities of your own. Thankfully, there’s help. Home care and adult day care professionals can play a major role in the health and welfare of your parent, providing them with the company, support, and assistance they need to avoid food insecurity.