Are you concerned that your elderly loved one isn’t eating healthy meals? Delicious, healthy meals a central component of well-being. You can help your elderly loved one have them regularly.
Logistical Problems with Meal Preparation
Lifestyle changes may make it more difficult for your parent or loved one to have access to healthy meals on a temporary or permanent basis, including:
- Loss of a spouse who always did the cooking
- Loss of the ability to drive, making it harder to get the the store
- Personal mobility issues related to illness
These problems can be addressed by making meals more convenient by having groceries or complete meals delivered to or prepared in your loved one’s home.
Personal Problems with Eating
Even if transportation or mobility is not an issue, seniors can have personal problems that prevent them from eating. See more in our article about Eating and Nutrition.
Convenient Ways to Have Meals Prepared or Delivered
If transportation is the only issue, grocery delivery services can ensure that fresh, healthy food is delivered to your loved one. These solutions often involve ordering via a website or app, so your loved one may need help from you, your care manager, or your home care worker. But a weekly “make the shopping list” phone call or visit can be an opportunity for social time and an opportunity to check on your loved one’s well-being.
Prepared Meal Delivery
Many restaurants will deliver meals, either directly or through a restaurant delivery service. This option can be expensive, but might be a nice treat occasionally, especially if your loved one can’t make it to their local favorite restaurant.
Home Delivered Meal Services
Many companies will ship fresh or frozen meals directly to your loved one’s door. Some of these companies specialize in meals for seniors, and most offer food catered to special diets.
Meals will usually be delivered with ice packs, so be sure your loved one can safely handle the shipping packages or have someone to unpack the meals for them. Heating instructions are usually straightforward, but be sure your loved one can read and understand them.
Here is a video we recorded in 2013 to show you how one company - Mom’s Meals - packaged and labeled their products. We’ll show you how the meals look when heated, and we even do a taste test!
Personal chefs will come to your loved one’s home, cook the meals your loved one requests, and package leftovers to eat later in the week!
Home Care Agencies
Home care, companion care, or “home help” agencies (as opposed to “home health” agencies”) provide home making services. Their employees can shop, prepare light meals, and do light housekeeping like clearing the dishes.
See our article about “What Type of Home Care Agency to Hire.”
Congregate Meals in the Community
Meals can be a lovely social activity, and many community organizations offer opportunities to enjoy a meal together. Check with your loved one’s local senior center and area agency on aging, and ask whether your loved one’s religious organization offers occasional group meals
Senior Living Communities
When an older adult loses a spouse or loses the ability to drive, they may become interested in moving to a senior living community as a way to make socializing more convenient and meal preparation less taxing. Most independent living communities provide at least one meal per day, in a dining room setting, and assisted living communities provide all meals plus snacks.
Even if your loved one has not decided to move, their favorite senior living community may welcome them for occasional meals. That’s a great way to try out the communities food!
Get Creative and Cooperative!
Maybe a neighbor can drive but can’t cook, and your mom can cook but not drive! Let’s get them together. It’s much easier to accept help while you’re helping someone else, and a new friendship could blossom!
How Care is There Can Help:
- Listen to your loved one and discover their meal preparation challenges
- Suggest sources of convenient meal delivery or preparation
- Arrange meals to be delivered or prepared
- Help choose a home care company and monitor their work
- Suggest places for congregate meals, and arrange transportation if necessary
- Suggest senior living communities and help your loved one explore them
- Look into creative ways to partner with neighbors and friends to make meals more convenient
- If necessary, help your loved one see a doctor or dentist related to eating problems
- Visit your loved one frequently and be vigilant for signs of decline in any area of life
Contact Care is There today for a free consultation!
Charlottesville Area: 434.326.5323
Shenandoah Valley: 540. 246.0211
Toll Free: 800.434.1633
- National Institute of Health (NIH) - Medline Plus
- Eldercare Locator
- Food Safety for Seniors - The Basics
- Food Safety for Seniors - Food Safety at Home