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Woman Pushing Senior in Wheel Chair in a Field



 My sister and I have recently been concerned that my 80-year-old father may not be eating enough on a daily basis. We observed that he seemed to be weakening and just not himself. Although he is willing and fairly able to prepare his own meals, he suffers from back pain and irregular sleep patterns, which lead to irregular eating Habits. Sometimes, he seems unconcerned about eating and waits until he is really hungry to then start contemplating what to eat. As a result, his meals are not always well-rounded, particularly to include enough protein as well as fruits and/or vegetables. There have also been times when, because he waited so long to eat, he becomes really hungry, then overeats and ends up with stomach discomfort. For all of these reasons, we decided that we need to help him a bit more with his nutrition.


As his primary caregiver, I started to consider what kinds of meals Dad should be eating. How can I make this simple enough for him to follow and cater to his preferences? He is generally not fussy and will eat healthy foods as long as I don’t suggest drastic changes.  I prayed for divine guidance and asked a friend who works in seniors’ homes to provide a sample menu. Within a couple of weeks, an answer started formulating…


One weekend morning, the idea came that I should make a nice breakfast for Dad, a treat of sorts. He had just come downstairs seeking something to eat when I met him in the hallway with the food. He was delighted and appreciative (I’m guessing he was hungry!). Shortly thereafter, I received another inspiration to make breakfast for him. This time, I realized I was being guided toward meal ideas and times that include sound nutrient content.


I was inspired to record the meal ideas in the same format as the sample I received from my friend along with a relevant grocery list.  If you’re stuck for ideas, a quick search on the internet will reveal a variety of meal inspirations. Your knowledge of your loved one’s likes and dislikes will also help you.  Furthermore, meal preparation and delivery services, including those focused on seniors, is an option that is becoming increasingly prevalent.

I currently have suggested breakfasts for one (1) week and will work toward having breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks for two weeks. Who knows, then maybe I`ll plan for a month! As mentioned above, I try to ensure that each meal has good protein, fruits and/or vegetable content, leaning away from too many simple carbohydrates, meats and dairy. It is futile to try to totally eliminate those types of foods from his diet, as he will protest. Sometimes, the protest comes in the form of “So I’ll be a healthy corpse!” Nevertheless, I also encourage him to take supplements, including sea moss gel, black seed oil and regular vitamins, which he has been doing.


An important ingredient in preparing a suggested nutrition plan for your senior loved one should be wisdom in sharing the ideas with love and respect.  I strive to communicate that we’re on the same team—not a daughter dictating to her senior father <smile>. My father desires to be as independent as possible. As such, I do not want him to feel like I am trying to straight-jacket him into set times and contents for his meals.  I realized that the guidance I am receiving is just as much about encouraging him (or perhaps leading him) by example. When the suggested schedule is completed, it will be a depiction of what is possible rather than a strict plan, and can be varied by him as he desires. He will not have to think about what is in the house to eat, how to put it together, extensive time preparing it, nutrient goals, etc. Of course, I will continue to assist him as much as possible. I have been doing his shopping while we endure the covid-19 pandemic and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.


I actually cherish the opportunities to prepare meals for my father—he loves good food and really appreciates the assistance, to the point of tears. He has said a few times that he can hardly believe that the little baby he held at the hospital all those years ago when I was born is actually taking care of him now. These moments that we share are very rewarding. There is also a sense of satisfaction knowing that I’m helping to improve his health as well as support his weight regulation.

I’m careful to communicate through verbal and non-verbal means that this is not a burden to me, but is a privilege. As we advance to our senior years, we have to adjust to being increasingly dependent on others which can be hard for many individuals.  Therefore, it is important to facilitate acceptance of that reality as much as possible through positivity, kind words and encouraging gestures.

For now, I`ve committed to myself that I will prepare breakfast for Dad as much as possible, likely doing most of the preparation work on the weekend so that he (or I, if available) can easily access the meal each morning. He seems happy enough preparing lunch and dinner for himself but will soon have the benefit of a nutritious, vitamin-rich dietary plan.

           Caring for seniors is perhaps the greatest responsibility we have. Those who have walked before us have                 given so much and made possible the life we all enjoy. ~Senator John Hoeven


Profile Photo Andrea P. Kelly is a Lawyer and Notary Public at  with practice focus in Estate Planning and Administration, including wills, estates, trusts and powers of attorney. Her battle and victory over rheumatoid arthritis using natural health alternatives was a pivotal, life changing experience. Andrea`s desire to help people find solutions to life`s problems, particularly those suffering from chronic illnesses, was birthed as Whereas she spent the first part of her career helping people to die well, she now wants to help people to live well.


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