December 5, 2018
An AARP report finds that about 20 percent of seniors between the ages of 60 and 69 deal with food insecurity. Of those 70 and older, about 12 percent deal with food insecurity. The level of insecurity differs, but it’s important that no senior goes hungry.
Do you know if your parents have enough?
Start by asking your parents what they eat each week. Unless your parents have some form of dementia or memory loss, they should be able to recall what they’ve eaten for the past few days. If you find they do more takeout meals than they do home-cooked meals, you should investigate why they do that.
Many seniors lean toward freezer meals and takeout because it’s easier. Arthritis can make it hard to chop vegetables and meats. It also can make it hard to stand at a stove, bend over to check items in the oven, and lift hot, heavy pots.
Inventory Their Food Supplies
If your parents still drive, this may be harder to do, but you can try it. Take a full inventory of your mom and dad’s groceries in the fridge, freezer, and cupboards. Each time you go up, see what’s been used up. If you notice new items, add them to the list.
When your parents drive, they’ll be buying groceries on their own. This can make it harder to keep exact records. You could see if they’ll add the things they buy to the list. If you do the shopping for your parent, it’s easy to keep the exact inventory and know exactly what they’re using up each week.
You can use this to figure out how much food they go through each week. You may also find patterns of the foods they’re eating and what they use the least. That helps you determine if they’re eating a balanced diet or not.
Prepare Meals for Them
If you have the time, cook your parents’ meals each week. If you have them packaged in freezer bags or containers, they’ll be easy to reheat. Your parent can pick a meal from the fridge or freezer, reheat it, and have a nutritious meal. You can make sure they’re eating a good mix of proteins, vegetables, and grains at each meal.
Hire Caregivers to Prepare Meals
Hire caregivers to prepare your parents’ meals. Caregivers can shop for groceries, prepare ingredients, and cook meals. Plus, your parents will gain a companion during the meal. Caregivers can sit with your mom and dad while they eat. They’ll benefit from socialization, as well.