Senior Mealtime Challenges and a Fun Recipe Contest

Our primary concern, at Home Instead Senior Care of Minneapolis, is the well-being of seniors at home. Mealtimes can be very challenging for seniors, especially for those who no longer cook for two or more. In this post we will provide the results of a study performed by the Home Instead Senior Care Network on what seniors perceive as the biggest mealtime challenges, along with ideas for how to make mealtimes a more positive experience for the senior in your life.

mealsAlso, look for recipe contest details at the end of this post. Hurry and submit your best family recipes. The contest ends on September 15th 2011!

Mealtime Challenges

According to research conducted for the Home Instead Senior Care Network, seniors described their top 10 mealtime challenges. The following is the result of the Home Instead study, starting with the most reported mealtime challenge, along with ideas and tips for helping the senior in your life to have a more positive mealtime experience.

1. Lack of companionship during mealtimes (62%)

Tip: If you can’t be there to dine with your loved one regularly, look for alternative options such as friends and neighbors. Look into activities at churches, senior centers, and resource available at your local Area Agency on Aging and your local Home Instead Senior Care network.

2. Cooking for one (60%)

Tip: You can freeze almost any kind of leftovers, including sliced and seeded fruit, by placing it in plastic containers or freezer bags. Think about creating one-serving warm-up meals from left-overs, and finding healthy, low-sodium one-serving meals.

3. Eating nutritious meals (56%)

senior shoppingTip: Buying fresh produce, when possible, is a healthy choice and is also motivating. Alternatively, buy frozen fruits and vegetables, which retain nutrient content better than canned and processed foods. Plant a garden if your senior has the ability to tend to it.

4. Grocery shopping for one (56%)

Tip: Evaluate transportation choices or grocery delivery services to help your senior get the groceries needed for healthy meals. Make a shopping list of items that work well for making small meals. And consider contacting your local Home Instead Senior Care network regarding assistance that may help your senior with activities such as shopping and cooking.

5. Eating three meals a day (49%)

Tip: Create routine around mealtime. Set mealtimes to the clock. And, because so many medications must be taken at certain meals, it is helpful to coordinate mealtime with the medication plan.

6. High expense of cooking for one (45%)

Tip: Encourage your senior to share meals, check out the local senior center which may offer affordable meals for seniors, and look into Meals on Wheels.

7. Relying too much on convenience food (43%)

Tip: Your senior may need some guidance in reading labels and choosing healthy foods. Encourage your senior to meet with a nutritionist to learn how to read labels and make healthy choices.

nursing home8. Loss of appetite (41%)

Tip: Make mealtimes special and fun. Cook up a favorite recipe, help the senior create a favorite meal, and even put out the nice china and some nice décor.

9. Eating too much food (38%)

Tip: Help the senior to establish the right portion sizes, based on activity level. Make sure at least one or two of the items on the plate are fresh vegetables and fruits for overall health.

10. Eating too little food (35%)

Tip: As much as possible, ensure that the senior is getting exercise, which will encourage a healthy appetite. If not eating continues to be an issue, contact your senior’s doctor to discuss supplemental products to ensure proper nutrition.

Contest Details

Many family recipes come with a great story. Now here’s the chance to share yours. If you’re a family caregiver, get your mom or dad’s cookbook and pull out that favorite family recipe to enter in the Homemade MemoriesSM Recipe Contest. Then tell us in a short story what makes this dish so special. Visit to learn more about the contest and how your recipe could be a cash prize winner. The contest runs until September 15, 2011.

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