Due to Covid-19 restrictions, many older people may be living on their own or limiting contact with other people. For some, this distressing time may have a negative impact on diet and eating, perhaps due to nervousness, stress, or inability to prepare nutritious meals independently.
How to help someone maintain a healthy diet
• Encourage them to eat 5 portions of fruit or vegetables a day
• Set them reminders to drink or intake fluid. This doesn’t have to be just water – this can be milk, soups, tea or coffee
• Encourage foods with high calcium and fiber contents, including milk and yogurt, and wholegrain ingredients
• Consider creating a healthy, weekly meal plan for them to follow
• Consider a food delivery service, that provides ready made meals, or introduce them to online food shopping if they struggle to get to the shops
How to ensure someone maintains a healthy weight
Older people are particularly vulnerable when it comes to unwanted weight loss. A loss of appetite, inability to prepare food and feeling low on energy can all contribute to this.
To try and reduce the risk of unwanted weight loss, you can:
• Try to keep an eye out for clothes or jewelry becoming looser
• Encourage them to eat 6 small meals a day, rather than 3 big meals, and implement healthy snacking into their diet
• Check that they are not having problems with their dental health or dentures, or subsequently introduce softer foods into their diet, like casseroles and bananas
• Keep a store of food that is easily accessible at all hours for them to eat and prepare quickly, including soups, quick snack bars or healthy pre-prepared meals
• Encourage light daily exercise – even a short walk can keep them on the move and encourage appetite
How to encourage or improve independent cooking
For those with limited mobility, cooking is often a dreaded task. This is where unhealthy choices can be easily made.
At Snowdrop, we stock a wide range of cooking and dining aids to assist the process of cooking and preparing meals.
You may want to consider aids such as:
• Uccello Kettle – A safe and assistive technology that allows safe pouring of hot water. This can encourage fluid intake through safe tea and coffee making
• Plastic Spread Board – A durable bread board that holds bread or vegetables firmly into place allowing them to be chopped or sliced safely
• 6 in 1 Multi-Opener – This opener features a comfortable non-slip grip and opens 6 different types of seals and lids with ease. Perfect for the encouragement of healthy soups and tinned vegetables
• Crystal Tap Turners – Another part of independent cooking – the washing up! These tap turners use non-slip rubber linings to clamp onto taps to allow easy turning and use
To find out more about food, nutrition and healthy eating, why not visit this helpful guide from the NHS
To browse all of our dining and cooking aids, visit our online shop here