At its simplest, dysphagia is difficulty swallowing. This can mean that your elderly family member can’t eat solid foods or even clear liquids easily. There may be other difficulties your senior has related to dysphagia, including trouble chewing foods and more. Personal care at home can be a huge help for your senior in eating and preparing meals.
The most common type of food for people with dysphagia to eat are pureed foods. Just about any food can be pureed, including fruits, vegetables, and even meat. The consistency of many of these pureed foods is similar to baby food and you can make these easily with a food processor or blender. Choosing a variety of different foods to puree gives your senior a better range of nutrients.
While potatoes fall under the category of vegetables that you can puree, they deserve a special mention. Potatoes, both white and sweet versions, are rich in nutrients, including fiber. Pureeing them keeps those nutrients in place and makes them easier for your elderly family member to eat. You can easily add ingredients like chicken stock, whole milk, and additional pureed vegetables to add flavor and other nutrients.
Soups are generally easier for people with dysphagia to eat, but you might want to steer clear of broth-based versions. These tend to be more liquid, sometimes making them more difficult for people with dysphagia to eat. By going with thicker, pureed soups, your senior may be better able to eat them.
If your elderly family member is a fan of cooked cereals like oatmeal, cream of wheat, or cream of rice, they can also help her to eat, even with dysphagia. Cooked cereals have the added advantage of typically being made of whole grains, if you choose them carefully. Make sure to read labels so that you know what the various cereal options have to offer.
Smoothies and Shakes
Shakes and smoothies can be chock full of nutrition if you plan them out properly. Starting with whole fruits and vegetables is a good plan. You can make the base of either smoothies or shakes with Greek yogurt, which is high in protein, and then build flavors from there. The texture is similar to pureed foods, but they can feel more like a treat to your aging family member.
On its own, yogurt is also a good choice for people with dysphagia. One thing you do want to be careful about is the added sugar levels in some yogurts. Make sure to read the labels and avoid the ones that are too high in sugar. Plain Greek yogurt that you jazz up with pureed fruits can be a solid option that doesn’t include a lot of added sugar.
Eggs, in a variety of formats depending on your senior’s difficulties with dysphagia, are high in protein and can be embellished in lots of different ways. Scrambled, poached, or even soft-boiled eggs have a texture that might be easy for your senior to manage.
This can all be a lot to manage for your senior, so it can help to have home care professionals taking over the cooking for her. They’re able to puree foods and ensure that your senior is getting plenty of nutritious meals daily. And if she’s having even more trouble eating, personal care at home can assist with all aspects of eating and getting the nutrients that your senior needs.