Helping Your Loved One With Eating After A Stroke
Provide Nutrition to Loved Ones in Stroke Care
After a loved one experiences a stroke, there are many things you can do to help them recover. One of the most important is providing nutrition. Stroke is a leading cause of disability, and people who have had one are at risk for malnutrition later in life. That makes eating well an important part of stroke care.
Your loved one requiring stroke care might be challenged with eating independently, at least for a time. There may be problems with chewing and swallowing, and it might be hard to move arms and hands smoothly in order to get food into the mouth without help.
Here are some tips for helping your loved one with stroke care to eat well:
Encourage a Regular Dining Schedule
- Create a regular dining schedule. Consistently dining with your loved one at approximately the same times will be best for your loved one in stroke care. This will allow you to anticipate the mealtime and help your loved one in stroke care to develop a healthy eating pattern. Remember to have patience with their struggles and allow ample time for completing meals as well.
- When is the best time for meals? As you try to establish the right meal time for your senior loved one, you may start by slightly varying meal times. This can help you figure out what times seem to work best for the patient in stroke care. Take notice of when they seem to have the most energy and appetite at meals, and then stick with that time for the rest of the week. You may also want to consider their sleep schedule. If they have a hard time sleeping at night, then it might be best to have lunch earlier in the day instead of dinner.
- Quality foods. Keep loved one healthy by providing nutritious foods while providing after-stroke care. Make sure you buy foods that are high in protein, which are better for muscle development and repair. Avoid shopping in the frozen meal section when you go shopping, as it is harder to help your loved one get the nutrients they need from frozen pizza or TV dinners. Instead, opt for fresh produce, whole grain bread and pasta, and lean protein sources like chicken or fish. You can also consider adding a multivitamin to their diet. This will help provide the necessary nutrients for them to recover from stroke and its after-effects.
- What are their favorite foods? Try to satisfy your loved one’s desire for favorite foods, if possible—and make sure that they are easy to ingest and nutritious. It is important to keep in mind that your loved one may not be able to eat the same foods as they did before the stroke. As a result, you may need to find ways to create new versions of their favorite meals that are easier for them to digest than before.
Softer Food is Safer for People in Stroke Care
- Make smoothies: Be creative with fruit and vegetable smoothies to help with easy-to-swallow nutrition. If you don’t have time to cut fruits and vegetables yourself, you may consider using pre-cut frozen fruits and vegetables.
- Fiber is important: Looking for a tasty, easy breakfast idea? Try preparing warm oatmeal. It’s loaded with fiber and when you add a spoonful of their favorite jam on top, it creates an easy and delicious breakfast.
- Boiled or scrambled eggs: Eggs are a good source of protein and can be eaten in soft-boiled or scrambled form. Plus, they are soft enough for people who have difficulty chewing or swallowing.
- Minced vegetables: If you have a loved one who has difficulty chewing or swallowing, try mashing some vegetables and adding them to their foods. This can be an easy way to get more fiber into their diet and help them get the nutrients they need. You can also try blending vegetables into a smoothie or adding them to broth.
- Soft desserts: Your loved one can delight in dessert every once in a while if it’s easy to eat and swallow. Desserts like cheesecake, frozen yogurt or ice cream are good options for people with swallowing problems because they don’t require much chewing.
- Liquid meals: Ready-made, high-calorie protein shakes are easy to swallow and good to take when you’re on the go. You could even mix it up by choosing different flavors every so often if you wanted!
- Try specialized utensils: Specialized utensils with innovative designs can be ordered online and can help someone in stroke care to eat independently. These utensils are often made with soft, comfortable materials and can be used by stroke survivors who have trouble grasping regular utensils.
Don’t Hesitate to Get Assistance
Oftentimes, caregivers feel overwhelmed by the amount of responsibility they have to take care of a loved one who has had a stroke. They may feel like they simply can’t do everything on their own, especially if the stroke survivor is still in rehabilitation and needs a lot of attention.
Assisting someone in stroke care can be difficult, but remember that you are not alone. Don’t hesitate to get assistance as needed before it becomes too much of a challenge for yourself or your family. Reach out to your Home Care Assistance location in Dayton, OH at 937-353-1412 for suggestions on how you can get additional help for loved ones in stroke care.
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