Nutrition : How to Cook for an Elderly Person

Nutrition : How to Cook for an Elderly Person

Hi my name is Christine Marquette and I’m
a dietitian with Austin Regional Clinic and I am going to talk to you about how to cook
for an elderly person. Elderly people have very unique nutritional needs. Most elderly
people actually have a lower body water mass than a young adult. An elderly person may
only have up to 50% of their body as water where the young adult may have up to 60%.
What that means is that an elderly person is at a higher risk for dehydration. Another
factor is that elderly people often have a diminished sense of thirst so they may not
always be aware that they are not drinking enough fluids. So you really want to push
fluids, you want to encourage your elderly friend or relative to drink fluids throughout
the day in between meals and when serving meals you want to include items that do have
a high fluid content such as soups or stews, lots of fruits and lots of vegetables. You
do need to keep in mind any special needs this person may have, they may have difficulty
chewing, they may have dentures. So you want to choose meats that ar soft, things like
ground meats, fish, or ground chicken. You may want to also try finger foods for those
people who may have trouble handling utensils, things such as chicken tenders, string cheese,
sandwiches, anything that is fairly easy to handle without needing a knife or a fork.
If this person is still able to use utensils but they just still have a little bit of trouble
say with their balance, choose some items that stick very easily to a utensil, things
such as mashed potatoes, meatloaf, anything that is a very thick item and again make sure
that you are really encouraging this person to drink fluids in between their meals. Another
concern is lack of appetite or getting full very quickly so often it is best to have that
fluid in between meals, not exactly with the meal because they may get full on their beverage
and not actually eat their food. So again encourage those fluids in between their meals
and really emphasize the fruits and the vegetables and make sure that they are actually able
to handle their foods properly and those are just some basic tips for cooking for the elderly.

3 thoughts on “Nutrition : How to Cook for an Elderly Person

  1. You are spot on. Thanks for the video. Another great benefit of drinking between meals is they are not diluting the HC acid in the stomach which helps so much in digestion and cuts way back on reflux.

  2. Spot on. Than you for the wonderful video and great info.

    Also, for those experiencing difficulty eating and speaking in a comfortable manner, they should consider dentures so they can enjoy all of these wonderful foods and more!

  3. Excellent tips! Thanks so much. For families who struggle with helping senior loved ones prepare meals, it's important to note that a local home care agency might be able to help. Many offer nutrition management services like this: and they can be a huge help to busy family caregivers!

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