Being a caretaker to your elderly loved one can involve making many decisions regarding their health, including nutrition decisions. There are no easy decisions when it comes to someone’s health especially when you are making that decision about their nutrition.
As people age it can become more difficult for them to eat solid food and have an adequate appetite. Soft food can be the preferential style of food for those who have difficulty eating or who have inconsistent appetites. While nutritional drinks can be an effective solution, they can also present their own problems and should be taken under the guidance of your elderly loved ones’ family physician.
Nutritional Drink Pros
Nutritional drinks can be a great option as they are quick, convenient and easy. There are well-known prepackaged brands that you can purchase from any major department store and pharmacy and this convenience can be very helpful for seniors who may not have the energy to cook or who cannot cook safely. Cooking can be a very time and physically demanding past time despite the fact that it is an important care task and daily chore.
Having prepackaged and premade nutritional drinks on hand can be a great substitute on those days that your senior may feel low on energy or on a particularly busy day. Due to the convenient nature of prepackaged drinks, they are helpful to get around eating challenges that may relate to a lack of energy or difficulty with chewing and swallowing. Nutritional drinks are easy to consume and they taste very good. They are intentionally made to taste almost like a chocolate milkshake in order to minimize some seniors’ resistance to eating.
Nutritional Drinks Cons
While Nutritional drinks can have a lot of advantages in terms of convenience and ease of access, there can also be some disadvantages to frequent use. Nutritional drinks are high in calories and in sugar which can have a negative effect on your elderly loved ones overall health. Due to their prepackaged and processed nature they are also high in artificial colors and various additives to make them shelf safe.
A further issue is that due to them being small and intentionally tasty, seniors can also be at risk of over consumption if they drink too many or if they forget how many they have consumed due to memory issues. Nutritional drinks are small substitutes for real food and while they can be high calorie, they are also not substantial enough to replace a real meal.
In summary, nutritional drinks can have advantages and disadvantages, the most important thing to remember is that their use is for convenience and ease of access. While it is still better to eat a full meal or eat something that is home made, when life gets too busy, it is better to eat anything than eat nothing at all.
Nutritional drinks can be a great substitute in a pinch as they have the necessary vitamins minerals and macro nutrients needed for overall health and wellness. Just keep in mind that these nutritional drinks are very high in sugar which can spike insulin levels which seniors often struggle with and can result in a high energy peak and a low energy fall.
A homemade meal will provide a more sustainable energy level but making food at home does cost energy in terms of the work it takes to make the food. On the days that your elderly loved one is finding it difficult to complete cooking themselves, it is better for them to have a quick and accessible option that is handy for them to take on the go.
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