Food is a massive issue for your senior if she has COPD. Your elderly family member is going to find that COPD makes it increasingly difficult for her to maintain her weight to a healthy level. To keep from losing too much weight, you and your senior are going to have to pay close attention to what she eats and when she’s eating.
Try Cooking Vegetables a Little Less
When vegetables cook for a long time, they lose quite a bit of the nutrients that make them beneficial. Steaming vegetables can make them easier to eat while also retaining more of the nutritional value. But if your elderly family member has difficulty chewing or swallowing, this may not be as possible as you would like.
Take Chewing out of the Equation
Another option is to remove the problem of chewing from the equation altogether. Smoothies or purees made from fruits and vegetables are a great way to use raw vegetables for their nutritional value. They’re also usually easier for your senior to eat in this format. If your elderly family member doesn’t like certain vegetables or fruits, a puree or smoothie also allows you to add other ingredients that she does like, which can help her to get the nutrients without dealing with the flavors she doesn’t like.
Keep Healthy Snacks on Hand
Healthy snacks are an important option for any aging adult anyway, but they’re especially important for your senior if she has COPD. It’s often difficult for seniors with COPD to eat larger meals, which can mean that your elderly family member doesn’t eat nearly as much as she needs to eat. Having convenient access to nutrient-rich snacks, like nuts and seeds, hard-boiled eggs, and other snack options can really help.
Skip the Complex Dishes
If your elderly family member is still handling her own cooking, it might wear her out. One option is to help her to plan meals that don’t take a long time to cook. Dishes that take longer than about 15 minutes probably require more effort from your senior than she gains in caloric intake. Another idea is to hire senior care providers to take over the cooking for your elderly family member. They can ensure that she’s eating healthy meals regularly throughout the day.
Your senior’s relationship with food is likely far different now that she has COPD than it has been in the past. This is something that will continue to be an issue for her as her COPD worsens. The better that she eats now, the more that will benefit her down the road.