Meeting Your Nutritional Needs When You’re No Longer Able to Cook
So much of the care for older adults focuses on medical appointments, living with co-morbidities, mobility restrictions and other medical issues. Although it’s necessary to take care of your medical issues, a need as basic as food and nutrition’s often overlooked. But what many people are unaware of is that a large amount of elderly people require assistance in this area.
The lack of ability to prepare food is a reason elderly people move into aged care facilities each year. For some older people, the reasons are a result of safety issues in the kitchen, where preparing meals becomes dangerous. For others they’re struggling physically to cook on their own. Unfortunately, unhealthy eating and poor nutrition are the result of this.
However, there are options to help people prepare their meals in their own homes. Many older people lose strength and flexibility in their arms and hands. As a result, they find it hard to manage pots, pans, spoons and knives to prepare food. If this is your current situation, rest assured that moving out of the family home and into assisted living isn’t the only option.
Nowadays there’s an abundance of meal kit delivery services. Some services offer prepared, packaged meals, while others deliver a box of fresh, ready to cook ingredients with a recipe card. Either of these options might work for you.
Lack of Funds
Reasons that people don’t cook can be less obvious. Many older people find it difficult to manage financially. Consequently, they can’t afford enough food due to a low income. If this is the case for you or a loved one, there are community services and charity organisations that might be able to help you. You could start by contacting Food Bank to find out which charities provide groceries to those in need in your local area.
Difficulty Purchasing Groceries
Other people don’t cook due to difficulties in getting to the store to purchase groceries. This is a result of factors such as limited mobility and lack of access to transport.
There are some options for consideration. Firstly, if you’re comfortable using the internet, you could consider online grocery shopping. Alternatively there are now many companies that deliver affordable, and nutritious meals. Dinnerly deliver boxes of ingredients with recipe cards to prepare meals. These are options to overcome the limitations that restrict you in eating a wholesome and nutritious diet from day to day.
And don’t forget that if you’ve got supportive friends and family who live nearby, they can probably help you out from time to time with groceries if you need them to do so.
Loss of Appetite
Many people eat less as they get older due to a loss of appetite among other concerns. As you age, you often become more lethargic and lack the energy to cook.
Loss of appetite can also be a side effect from medications. If your loved one has had a noticeable loss in appetite, you might suggest a medication review and a visit to the G.P. to discuss further. It could be that they’re in fact forgetting to eat. Whatever the reason, it’s strongly suggested that you follow up with a health professional.
Eating alone is another reason that people don’t eat as often when they’re older. Cooking for one often feels like too much effort. That’s where meal and food delivery kits are a great idea. Some meal kit delivery services offer meals for just two people, with a variety of recipes to choose from. With lots or all of the prep already done, and no wastage, this can be just what some seniors need to help them in the kitchen. And some meal kit delivery companies offer pre-made meals, meaning that you don’t have to cook or worry about the difficulties associated with cooking meals.
Finally, if you’re having difficulty preparing and eating meals, there’s help available. By contacting My Aged Care you can arrange an assessment with the Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT). If you meet the ACAT assessment criteria, you might be able to access in home care via a Home Care Package or the Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP). Be sure to let the assessor know that you’re struggling with meal preparation, cooking meals, or eating meals. You can call My Aged Care on 1800 200 422.