Helping your senior with the last few months of her life means ensuring that she’s getting the nutrients her body needs to keep going. But that can be complicated during this stage of her life.
Dehydration Is a Huge Concern
One of the biggest issues for your senior at any stage of life can be whether she’s properly hydrated or not. Near the end of her life, this can be a crucial part of helping her to remain comfortable and to forestall other issues. Ice cubes, mouth swabs, and other tools can help when drinking water just isn’t possible for your family member.
Comfort Is the Next Largest Issue
The next big issue is keeping your elderly family member comfortable. Proper hydration helps with this more than you might think, as can having the right foods and drinks for her needs and for her abilities at this stage. If your family member is scared to swallow or feels uncomfortable eating solid foods, end-of-life care providers can help you work around those issues.
Smaller, More Frequent Meals Help
Eating snacks multiple times per day may get more nutrients into your family member than two or three larger meals throughout the day can. This can happen because your family member just isn’t able to chew and swallow an entire meal. It can also happen if her tastes and preferences shift dramatically throughout the day. Keep in mind also that having a full stomach may be uncomfortable for some aging adults.
Room Temperature Foods Are Often More Palatable
The temperatures of food and drink may be perfectly fine and yet they may be uncomfortable for your family member. Whether the food is hot or cold normally, those temperature extremes can be just too much. Letting foods come to room temperature can make them more appealing to your senior, which encourages her to eat more or even more frequently.
Soft Foods Might Be the Way to Go
For some older adults, the temperature isn’t as important as the texture or the firmness of the food. Softer foods can be far easier for her to eat and to digest, making them infinitely more appealing. Scrambled eggs, bean purees, and cottage cheese are all full of protein and other nutrients and they can be a lot easier for your senior to eat.
What your family member needs and can tolerate in terms of eating and drinking varies so much as she enters the later stages of her life. End-of-life care providers can help you to understand and to accommodate those changing needs in ways that don’t interfere with the rest of your family member’s care and wishes.
If you or an aging parent are considering end-of-life care in Yardley, PA, please contact the caring staff at Serenity Hospice today. Call (215) 867-5405.