Need help cooking for elderly - Mothering Forums

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Old 03-20-2006, 08:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm about to become primary day time care giver for my grandmother. I'm thrilled to be able to spend this time with her,but, she's got me worried sick about her eating. She NEVER eats. I sat back and watched her today. She will have her plate and very convincingly push her food around and take an occassionaly nibble. She has been steadily loosing weight over the last year. I'm willing to cook anything as long as she'll eat it. Does anyone have any suggestions on meals that will have lots of protein and good nutrition BUT they need to be somewhat small in portion size. I don't want to overwhelm her with a huge mound of food. No allergies or medical conditions affect her diet. She just simply needs to consume more.
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Old 03-20-2006, 10:37 PM
 
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I'd suggest asking her! Just frame it as "I want to be a good granddaughter and make your favorites, so what might those be?"

Sorry I don't have any specific meal suggestions, although you might do a search for what other mamas have done for their picky, underweight toddlers.
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Old 03-26-2006, 07:22 PM
 
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I don't have a lot of ideas, but the pp had a good one. You might try engaging her in converstion, too, like mention what you like and ask what she likes. Tell her you' like to get to know her better.

You might also ask her if she has an appetite. If she doesn't, that should be addressed.

Also, does she like milkshakes? You could make a smoothie with fruit, yogurt, and sneak in some high calorie and high nutrient foods (nut butter comes to mind). Be sure to sweeten it to her satisfaction.

And when you find out what she likes to eat, try to sneak in some high calorie/high nutrient foods into those. You could ask about how to do that with the specific foods once you know what they are (you'll get lots of ideas on the main Nutrition and Good Eating forum).

Another thought is to give her enzymes. I've been reading a lot about them lately, and they help with all kind of things. They will bring a person toward their ideal weight. Basically, it helps a body use all of the nutrients in the food, so even if she doesn't eat very much, the food she does eat will do more for her. A good website to get started is http://www.enzymestuff.com/. She discusses the different types of enzymes, so that you can make sure you're taking the right types for the way you eat.

Good luck, and enjoy your grandma!

Christie

Christie ~ proud Mama to : 5/01, and : 3/07; and proud wife to my since 1992. We have 13 and 2 : It's looking more and more like either a farm or a zoo around here.
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Old 03-26-2006, 07:29 PM
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You may want to make sure she isn't having trouble with her teeth (whether they are real or artificial) that makes chewing difficult.
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Old 03-26-2006, 08:17 PM
 
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I had a couple of other thoughts (you got me thinking!).

Maybe you could have finger foods always available to her (like the ice cbe try for toddlers, but something more "adult"). Maybe have veggies and dip, crackers and cheese, finger sandwiches, or something else she likes. That way, if she's not very hungry at any given time, she could eat just a little, and know that there's more later if she's hungry later.

Another thought is muffins. I know if my ds isn't hungry for anything else, he'll eat a muffin. You could make some SCD muffins (basically eggs and nut butter), which are higher in nutrients, and they're really good. Look here if you're interested: http://www.pecanbread.com/recipes.html. Take a look at the cashew butter muffins (they can be made with any nut butter). You can add fruit (we add lemon zest and juice, and then add berries) or even veggies (carrots, zucchini, pumpkin puree in place of the banana), and don't forget the appropriate spices, to add variety and nutrients. You could even make mini muffins so that she isn't too overwhelmed (not surprisingly, these are more filling than traditional muffins). Coconut would good added to them if you use the banana.

Well, that's all my ideas for now.

Christie

Christie ~ proud Mama to : 5/01, and : 3/07; and proud wife to my since 1992. We have 13 and 2 : It's looking more and more like either a farm or a zoo around here.
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Old 03-26-2006, 08:44 PM
 
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I forgot to mention deviled eggs (if she likes them, of course). They're fancier and more interesting than plain boiled eggs.

Also, is she able to help you prepare the food? If she is, she might be more vested in it if she does. And she might enjoy spending the time with you.

Christie

Christie ~ proud Mama to : 5/01, and : 3/07; and proud wife to my since 1992. We have 13 and 2 : It's looking more and more like either a farm or a zoo around here.
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Old 03-27-2006, 11:53 AM
 
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Asking her about her favorites, and then adding in healthy high calorie foods are a good idea. However, please remember that, as people get older, their bodies slow down. They eat less because their bodies can't use all the calories, as their functions are becoming fewer. This can last for years, but it is one of the steps we take toward the end of life. I worked with all four of my grandparents in the last years of their life, and learned a lot from the nurses who helped me take care of them, as well as hospice with two of them. Your grandmas body just isn't growing anymore, and she doesn't move around as much, I'm guessing? So, her body has a NATURAL defense mechanism that causes her to WANT to eat less. Forcing her (tricking her, whatever), probably won't do much good, as her body just won't use the extra calories that it doesn't want, taken in or not!

We are now going through much the same issue with my husband's grandma, who's 94. She will take what ever we give her and split it in half. She used to be able to sit down and eat a quart of ice cream in one sitting all by herself...and we could bribe her to eat her dinner by waving the ice cream carrot...now she even only asks for a cup of ice cream and splits THAT in half! Good luck in your quest.

Mama to two awesome kids. Wife to a wonderful, attached, loving husband. I love my job-- I'm a Midwife, Doula and Childbirth Educator, Classes forming now!

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Old 03-27-2006, 12:02 PM
 
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One of the challenges your grandmother may be facing is the inability to smell and/or taste much of anything causing her to not be interested in food. My husband's grandmother now gets Meals on Wheels and she is so uninterested in eating that one dinner can last her for two plus a snack. It really isn't much food either. My grandmother, soon to be 93, drinks Boost everyday. She might not be all that in the mood for food, but she is always in the mood for a chocolate shake even if she can't really taste it too well. It is loaded with vitamins and other things that the body needs. I strongly suggest adding this or Ensure or a similar product to her diet. Her doctor might also have some suggestions for you.

You might want to run a little test with her to figure out what she can still sense. Is it salt, spicy, sour, sweet? In order for her to have a little interest, you may need to adjust the recipe to add more of one of these than you would normally add.

It is tough. Much luck to you.
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Old 05-01-2006, 08:57 PM
 
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How's your grandmother doing?? Have things improved any? I recently had an experience that I'd like to share. It's not necessarily you grandmother's problem, but it's worth looking at. I mentioned to my dr. that I wasn't able to eat enough to get the nutrients I need. I was only eating one meal a day, and *maybe* a small snack. I just had no appetite. And protein made me sick to my stomach. He said that I was zinc deficient. About 1 1/2 months ago I started with a zinc (12 mg) 10-15 min. before each meal, and then slowly cut back. I'm now at 1 zinc a day at breakfast (although I occasionally will take another if I have no appetite, and about 10 minutes later, I'm hungry). And while I was cutting back from 3/day, I would add one if I were made sick by protein. I'd be able to eat it in about 10 min.

One way to find out if you're zinc deficient is to take some. If it tastes metallic (or smells so bad you can't even get it to your mouth), you don't need it. Otherwise, you need it. At least that what my other dr. told me.

Hope things have improved for your grandmother!

Christie

Christie ~ proud Mama to : 5/01, and : 3/07; and proud wife to my since 1992. We have 13 and 2 : It's looking more and more like either a farm or a zoo around here.
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