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BPC #3: HOW TO BE SURE YOUR LOVED ONE IS EATING ENOUGH

BPC SERIES: A 9-Part Series on BEING a PRIMARY CAREGIVER (BPC)
Approximately 43.5 million caregivers have provided unpaid care to an adult or child in the last 12 months. *
This series is dedicated to the heart and soul of this informal, unpaid, caregiving group, the primary caregivers. Silver Lining is dedicated to a healthier Delaware by using our expertise to empower a group of incredible people to give their loved ones the best care possible.

What is a Primary Caregiver?
A primary caregiver is the title given to anyone that is primarily (first-up) responsible for caring and providing for another living thing. A primary caregiver could be:the sole available person caring for anotherthe person who cares for another in the primary role (and has additional support people)the individual who lives with the person that needs cared forUltimately, a primary caregiver is responsible for making sure that the person they’re caring for gets the support and care they need. Our goal with the BPC Series is to support this amazing group of primary caregivers with resources, shout outs and access. We see you and we are here for you.
* National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP. (2015). Caregiving in the U.S

By Brittany Stoltzfus, RD, LDN, owner of Simply Nutrition LLC in Pennsylvania

Being a caregiver of a loved one involves multiple responsibilities. This role can be stressful at times, especially when meal and snack times arrive. As people age, different medications, disease states and emotional health can influence one’s ability to eat. How can you as the caregiver know if your loved one is eating enough? Every person is unique in their exact nutrient needs so overall goals can vary person to person. A person can show physical signs of not eating enough through increased weakness, increased fatigue, and a high level of weight loss. While working with your loved one, patience is helpful. Remember, your loved one will have good days and challenging days with food intake and that is okay. Read the tips below to aid with increasing your loved one’s food intake. 

No Restrictions

When your loved one has a decreased appetite, allow them to choose what foods sound good to them. If they are interested in seconds, offer another portion. If your loved one is on a restricted diet, speak with your physician first before loosening restrictions.

Ambiance

Creating an enjoyable eating experience for your loved one is key. This can include eating together at the table, playing soothing music, and presenting the food in an appealing manner. 

Meal Schedule

Offer 4-6 small portions throughout the day versus 3 meals. This approach provides manageable portions and variability based on individual’s needs.  

Food Choice

On days your loved one is not as hungry, offer high calorie options such as nut butters mixed in yogurt or oatmeal, avocado toast or smoothies to boost calories. 

Simple Flavors

Prepare foods with few spices or flavors. Choosing bland food such as bread, applesauce, rice, or bananas can be helpful or protein with limited seasoning.

If you notice your loved one is struggling to eat most days (4 out of 7 days), working with a registered dietitian or the team at Silver Lining Home Healthcare can be helpful for a personalized plan for your loved one. 

Simply Nutrition LLC is a registered dietician-owned nutrition and wellness company focused on bettering every client’s relationship with food. They focus primarily on remote interactions (through Telehealth) to enable access to anyone. If you’re interested in learning more, visit their website. 

Visit our YouTube channel for talks around aging topics and to watch our Coffee Chats with Tiffany where RN Tiffany Rubin talks about matters you care about. 

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