Overcoming Barriers to Eating For Seniors

As we age, many factors interfere with proper nutrition.
– Can’t chew.
– Upset stomach
– Can’t shop.
– Can’t cook.
– No appetite.
– Short on money.
Eating well is important. You can overcome these barriers.
Problem – Can’t Chew
Trouble with chewing is a common problem of many seniors. Meats may feel tough and difficult to get down.
Solution
Try fruit or vegetable juices, Canned fruits that are soft (peaches, pears, or applesauce), Mashed vegetables (potatoes or carrots are good examples), Creamed vegetables in soups (potato soup, cream of broccoli soup), Ground meats (gravy makes these go down easier), Alternate proteins (eggs, bean soup, milk, cheese), and Creamed fruits (mix softer fruits with yogurt or cottage cheese).
Problem – Upset stomach
Excess gas and a sensitive stomach may keep you away from some foods you identify as problems (and these are often your favorites).
Solution
Try other foods like milk or creamed soups. Also you might wish to try foods that you have never tried before. Be sure to include adequate protein. This is often lacking in people with stomach upset. See your health care provider if your problem continues.
Problem – Can’t Shop
You may be less mobile than you used to be. Perhaps you don’t drive any longer. You may be unable to stand or walk around much.
Solution
Some grocery stores deliver. Call around. Some may do it for free. Ask members of your church to help. Some are just waiting for the opportunity to be helpful and do your grocery shopping for you. Ask your minister or pastor. Sometimes they will know of volunteer groups that may do your shopping. Ask your family or neighbors. Ask your health care provider. You may be eligible for home health services. Many of them can do your shopping.
Problem – Can’t cook
You may have trouble standing at the stove or holding the utensils. Cooking may seem like too much trouble.
Solution
Try using a microwave oven. You can now cook TV dinners, pizza, vegetables and a large variety of foods there. Check the yellow pages for meals on wheels or delivery through a senior center. Ask family members or friends to help you.
Problem – No appetite
Sometimes cooking for one person just makes you lose your appetite. You may feel lonely. Some medicines may make food tasty funny or strange.
Solution
Go to the local senior center to eat. Check with your health care provider. Ask about your medications and food flavor. Spice it up a bit. Add additional spices. Try new spices. Visit friends and family for meals. Shared meals offer companionship and allow you to share gossip as well as food.
Problem – Just Don’t Have The Money
Solution
Look in the ads for foods on sale. Buy staples such as dried beans, rice, and pasta. Use coupons. Or join a coupon exchange to find coupons on foods that you normally eat. Try generic or store brand foods. Eat at the local senior center. See if you are eligible for food stamps.
Eating well at any age is important to your overall health. Try these solutions to correct your problems.

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