Making eating easier for older people

Older people often have difficulty eating. Here are some top tips to help them eat easily and well

  • Difficulty chewing –make chewing easier by creating smoothies made with fresh fruit, yogurt, and protein powder. Steam vegetables and soft food, such as couscous and rice. Yogurt and soup are also good
  • Dry mouth – try to get them todrink 8 -10 glasses of water each day. Encourage them to take a drink of water after each bite of food and add sauces and salsas to foods to moisten them
  • If they don’t like healthy food- try including just one fruit or vegetable at every meal, buy small lunchbox packets of cut up fruit for variety
  • Home delivery – take advantage of home delivery. All major supermarkets have internet or phone delivery services, which you can order for your parent if they cannot do it for themselves. Browse with them to inspire their taste buds!
  • Meal delivery services – there are a number of companies who prepare meals and deliver, as well as Meals on Wheels, which you can find via your local authority or search online
  • Get help at home with the cooking – if this is an option, it works well. Your parent gets good food and company
  • Don’t over face them with food – Older people are often phased by large potions, M&S and other supermarkets do healthy kids sized ready meals, perfect for the smaller appetite and good for the freezer
  • Stock the freezer and the larder- ready meals and meals you have made for your parent, as well as cakes and vegetables can all go into the freezer. Soups and tinned food are good staples for the larder. Make sure there is always a loaf of bread in the freezer to defrost
  • Make every meal “do-able.” Healthy eating needn’t be a big production. Keep it simple, stock the freezer and make it easy to cook
  • Create base foods –make up batches of simple cooked food, such as chicken, beef, vegetables, fish. Your parent can defrost them and then add sauces and other ingredients of their choice, so they always have a healthy meal at hand, but are still involved in choice and preparation
  • Stock them up with healthy snacks, such as dried fruit, cereal bars, mixed seeds, nuts, small juice cartons and instant soups
  • Frozen fruit and vegetables are an excellent way of making it very easy for your parent to access healthy ingredients, especially if mobility prevents them from going out to buy fresh produce
  • Make sure they have the right equipment. If they have difficulty gripping standard cutlery, special cutlery is available, which make it easier to eat. A small hot water urn may be better than a kettle and microwaves are also a very healthy option to prepare food


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