Ensuring Your Parents Eat Healthily
By Donna Stark
It's hard enough to manage your own diet and nutritional needs, but when you add kids and elderly parents to the mix, some days can really be a struggle. Fortunately, on the one hand, all that you may be dealing with are picky eaters and school lunches, so it may not be so terribly rough. But on the other hand, it may be an entirely different story. You may have to work with some serious health issues, which can make it a lot harder to ensure that your parents are getting the nutrition they need.
In addition to your parents having different nutritional needs than yourself or your children, they also take more medication, have higher rates of chronic health issues, such as diabetes and heart disease, and are more likely to have trouble caring for themselves, all of which contribute to significant deficiencies in their diet. It is vitally important to keep an eye on your parent's diet and to understand the red flags of malnutrition. Let's take a look at a few of them here.
- Lack of interest in cooking
- Impaired ability to cook for themselves
- Changing taste buds
- Medications that suppress appetite
- Lack of knowledge on how to cook for restricted diets
- Trouble with swallowing or chewing
- Limited income
- Expensive medications
- Lack of mobility to shop
Steps to Take
If you think your parent, or parents, are at risk for malnutrition, you must act quickly. Here are some steps you can take to help the situation.
- Check their refrigerator and pantry to see what they are eating and what they aren't eating
- Watch for changes in health, behavior, and weight
- Encourage them to eat nutrient-dense foods and to drink the recommended amount of water every day
- Make sure their kitchens are functional
- Help them shop and meal prep every week
- Invest in a meal delivery program
- Talk to their doctors or pharmacist about any problem-causing medications
- Ask for help from a medical professional if you don't see any change and the situation continues to deteriorate
Protecting Your Loved Ones
There are so many times when we have to step in to make sure our loved ones are protected and well-cared for, and taking control of our parent's diet is no exception. Sure, it can be tough, it can be exhausting, and it can bring insane levels of frustration into your life, but the end result will be worth it! And the best part? You are not alone! There is plenty of help to be found.
To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Jacksonville, Fla.