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Adjusting to changing nutritional needs

Sometimes it can be a struggle to make sure your parent receives adequate nutrition. Changes in food preferences can cause former favorite foods to suddenly become unappealing, while illnesses, medications or dental issues can make eating more of a chore than a pleasure. And for some adults, just remembering to eat can be a challenge.

Poor nourishment is a serious risk. If your parent doesn’t eat or drink enough – or passes up nutritionally balanced food for sweets and empty calories – they can experience dehydration, fatigue, dizziness and disease complications.

Consider these tips to ensure your parent has a nutritionally sound diet:

  • Embrace change – Tastes develop over time. Don’t be alarmed if your parent no longer loves green beans or suddenly wants ham every Sunday. Comply with these requests as you can. Also, try offering new foods or variations on family favorites to see what alternatives they may find appealing.
  • Keep it simple – Stock your parent’s kitchen with healthy pre-portioned snacks that are easy to prepare and eat. Some great ideas include granola bars, baby carrots, fresh fruit, cheese sticks and bottled water. Meal replacement drinks can also be an easy – and tasty – way to ensure your parent gets the daily nutrition they need.
  • Set a timer – If your parent often forgets to eat, use an alarm clock to help prompt them. Place it in the kitchen to get them closer to the food and help remind them what the alarm is for.
  • Add a multivitamin – While it shouldn’t be a replacement for healthy food, a daily multivitamin can help ensure your parent gets all the key vitamins and minerals they need.