Elder Care in Tequesta FL
Encouraging as much independence as possible is an important part of giving your aging loved ones the quality of life that they need and deserve, but there are some situations in your elder care journey with your parents when being alone could cause more harm than you realize. One of these situations is during mealtimes.
The National Institute on Aging estimates that 19 percent of men over the age of 65 and 37 percent of women in the same age bracket live alone. This often means that these seniors are eating a good percentage of their meals alone. While you might not think much of your aging parent starting the day with a solo breakfast or eating a casual dinner alone after her elderly health care services provider leaves for the day, having eating be a solitary activity in her life could have negative implications for her mental, emotional, and even physical health.
Some of the issues that can be caused by eating alone include:
• Loneliness. Even if your seniors rarely experience loneliness at other times, it is likely that they will experience feelings of loneliness during mealtimes when they are eating alone. This is because eating is often linked with emotion and relationships. Mealtimes were family times and social and family occasions such as holidays always involved eating. Eating alone now might remind your parent of lost loved ones and create a difficult emotional reaction.
• Nutritional deficits. People who eat alone are less likely to eat well-balanced home prepared meals. This is because cooking for one is not as fulfilling as cooking for a family and people are more likely to reach for convenience foods or skip meals all together to avoid going through the process of cooking a meal for one and then eating alone.
• Choking danger. Many seniors deal with increased difficulty chewing and swallowing, which can make eating dangerous when there is no one around.
Some ways that you can help protect your parent’s mental, emotional, and physical health through avoiding meals that your parent must eat alone include:
• Take the time a few times a week to eat meals with your parent at her home, or bring her to your home to eat with your family.
• Ask that the elderly health care services provider stay longer so that she can cook with your parent and eat dinner with her.
• Start a weekly potluck with members of your caregiver support group. Change up who will host the dinner at their home and who will prepare what. This will give your parent valuable social interaction and build friendships while also giving you more people to interact with
• If you cannot make sure that your parent is not alone for some meals of the week, make having a nutritious meal easier by preparing meals and putting them in her refrigerator or freezer, or leaving the components for healthy meals and simple instructions so the preparation is fast and enjoyable.
If you or an aging loved one are in need of elder care services in Tequesta, FL or the surrounding areas, contact the caring professionals at Treasure Coast Home Health Care. Call today at (772) 678-3324.