If you have a senior relative that lives at home alone, it could be a good idea to check in on their nutrition every now and then. Rather than asking them outright what they are eating on a daily basis, you can determine on your own what their habits are like simply by helping out at their home.
- Clean the Refrigerator – Periodically, you can offer to help clean your senior relative’s refrigerator, pantry or cabinets. When you do, pay close attention to the dates on the food. Are most of the dates expired or is there a lot of obviously spoiled food? This is a sign that even if your relative is getting the food in the house, they are not eating it. If there is a lack of food in the refrigerator or cabinets, this is another telltale sign.
- Help with Grocery Shopping – If your senior relative’s grocery list is filled with convenience foods and very little colorful produce and lean protein items, their nutrition could be suffering. When you help your relative shop, encourage the purchase of many different fruits and vegetables, lean protein and whole grain products.
- Talk with the Doctor – If you attend doctor appointments with your loved one, ask the doctor how they think the level of nutrition is for your loved one. A simple physical exam of the skin color and texture, current weight loss or gain and a few simple blood tests could help pinpoint a slacking nutritional diet.
If you are unable to help your loved one with these tasks or feel overwhelmed at the amount of help that they need, a professional in-home care agency can assist them with their basic needs. This helps you to ensure that your loved one is receiving proper nutrition without putting added pressure on you.