Naturally, people may experience malnourishment as they age.

As people age they may develop a lower tolerance for foods that were tolerable before. A decrease in the efficiency of the digestive system makes it harder for people to convert food into energy. And difficulty with movement makes meal preparation difficult. All these factors can contribute to malnourishment.

How do we as caregivers encourage nutrition in our senior loved ones ?

In this post, we will go over 5 ways to help your loved maintain excellent nutrition.

Make Meal Preparation Easy

The first way to encourage nutrition is to make sure meals are very easy to prepare for seniors.

Prepping half-cooked or fully cooked meals which can be refrigerated and easily popped into the oven when your loved on is ready to eat is a good way to get started with this.

Grocery stores across the country now sell a wide variety of pre-cooked meals that make cooking an ease. Simple but nutritious single serve meals that can easily be placed in a microwave or regular oven can also be bought in the grocery store.

Fruits and vegetables  are full of essential nutrients and should also be on hand. Most fruits and vegetables require very little cooking. This makes them perfect for healthy snacks.

Red and orange vegetables like carrots and tomatoes are rich in Vitamin A which helps with eye health.

Green leafy vegetables like kale, spinach, and lettuce are provide iron which supplies the body with energy and helps to reduce anemia.

For seniors who have difficulty chewing, there are juicers and mechanical softeners that make food easier to swallow.

Making food easily available and easy to consume ensures that seniors get the right daily caloric and nutrient intake that supports life.

Make Meals Social

As a result of major life changes, such children living far away or the loss of a spouse, many seniors experience depression and loneliness which can translate into a loss of appetite.

This loss of appetite may adversely affect nutrition in seniors.

There is evidence, however, that suggests that social eating helps older people eat more.

While this can have a downside of over-eating for some people, in adults who have trouble eating alone, this is a good thing.

Providing seniors with the company of family, other seniors, neighbors, friends, or caregivers during meals can work wonders for stimulating appetite.

Other ways to make mealtimes social for seniors include starting a potluck club. You may also suggest your loved one join a mall walker program (where they have breakfast after walks).

Seniors can also be encouraged to eat out in the neighborhood. Several cafes offer discount for senior meals and these can be taken advantage of.

Enhance the Flavor

To cater for seniors who have low appetites try enhancing foods with flavor. As people age, the strength of thier sense of taste may decrease.

Stir-frying green vegetables in a little oil with aromatic spices can change a usually bland meal into a delicious one.

Shop for Bargains

Eating nutritious meals can come at a high price.

If price is a barrier to buying more nutritious choices at the grocery store, a caregiver can play an active role in helping a senior find affordable bargains. Use weekly grocery store sales prices that come out (always a good time to stock up when there is a sale!) Look out for coupons and discounts that offer even further reduced prices.

Local charities and churches will sometimes get overflow produce from grocery stores to give to the community. These local resoures may offer good food that may be significantly reduced or even free.

Price should never be the reason why person does not eat healthily. There are great resources that caregivers can look into to help seniors enjoy better low cost nutrition.


One of the services we provide here at Green Tree Home Care is transportation assistance. We realize it is important our clients have access to grocery transportation for optimal health.

Some seniors like to shop for themselves and a caregiver can provide a ride to the store so they can make their own selections. In fact, giving them the opportunity to go to the store and buy their own food gives people a sense of autonomy and control. A sense of a loss of control can send our senior loved ones into depression. Activities like shopping for themselves not only gives them a chance to pick out food but encourages that sense of control.

Closing Thoughts

As people age, it becomes increasingly difficult to maintain excellent nutrition due to a host of factors. In this post, I have shared 5 tips caregivers, friends, neighbors and family can all help in promoting excellent nutrition in seniors.

Encouraging excellent nutrition will increase the quality of life of our senior loved ones.

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Suddenly, mom’s forgetfulness has turned into full blown dementia-like symptoms. What would cause her personality to change overnight? Could this be because she has a Urinary Tract Infection (abbreviated as UTI)?

Sudden personality and/or behavioral changes and urinary tract infections are conditions that are very common among the elderly. Conclusive evidence hasn’t shown how urinary Tract Infections affect memory. But, there have been reports, like this one ,where doctors have describe a cessation of personality changes after treatment for a UTI.

An explanation describing a cause-and-effect relationship between the two conditions however, according to research literature, is still not clear. The fact remains however, that personality changes and UTIs frequently occur together in the elderly.

How do you get prepared for such a scenario ?

In the tips below discuss possible signs your loved one may have a UTI and what you can do to help so the situation does not escalate.

Possible Signs of a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

While symptoms may show up differently in different individuals, in general a combination of the following should alert you that a UTI might be present.

It is also important to note that UTIs are more common in women than in men.

  • A strong and persistent urge to urinate
  • Complaints of a burning sensation while urinating
  • Urine that appears cloudy instead of being clear
  • Strong smelling urine (freshly voided urine is typically odorless)
  • Pain in the pelvic area
  • High fever
  • Shaking and chills
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Blood in urine
  • Pain during urination

What Kind of Behavioral Changes are Reported to Occur with UTIs ?

  • Confusion
  • Agitation
  • Withdrawal from company
  • Frequent falling
  • Hallucinations
  • Manic/hyperactive episodes

While these are just a handful of behavioral/personality changes you might observe, it is safe to say if you notice any drastic changes in your loved one’s personality over the course of a day or two, it is cause for concern. If you belive behavior changes might point toward dementia, you can learn more about signs of dementia in this article.

What You Can Do to Help

Any combination of the symptoms described above should immediately be reported to your loved one’s doctor.

UTI infections are caused by bacteria that need to be treated with antibiotics. Failure to do so immediately can cause the infection to spread and cause sepsis – bacteria that now spreads into the blood and which then becomes difficult to treat.

According to Anita Wafford LVN from Paramount Home Health, patients who experience UTIs often have drastic changes in attitude, cognition, and mobility. Bed sores and UTIs are even harder to detect when caring for someone with memory loss. UTI monitoring pads can help.

Drastic changes in mood and behavior always warrant a call to your loved one’s doctor. Ms Wafford also recommends, once your doctor has been consulted and approves, that family members encourage food and fluids.

“If they don’t want to drink straight water, you can offer cranberry juice, flavored water, or otter pops – they might laugh at it but works.”

It is also important to encourage movement as much as possible.

Fun Fact : While studies are not conclusive, according to the US National Library of Medicine, cranberry juice is known to be helpful in preventing the occurrence of UTIs. If there is a reason to grab a gallon of cranberry juice, this is it!

The Good News

The good news is that personality changes that occur concurrently with a UTI are usually reversible if you catch the situation early and seek treatment.

The first step however, is to get help immediately if there is even an inkling of suspicion. When it comes to health matters, there are times when it is better to err on the side of caution.

Closing Thoughts

Do urinary tract infections affect memory and personality? That is still a question that has not been fully answered by medical researchers.

However, there is enough evidence that the two can occur together.

In this post, we uncovered symptoms to look out for in case of a UTI and the type of personality changes that could occur as a result.

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A question people often ask when they call us here at Green Tree Home Care is “what home care supplies do we need to have on hand?”

This question is important both for the caregiver coming to your home and your elderly loved one.

Each of the items on our list are easy to buy at your local store or on Amazon and will ensure that your caregiver has access to the necessary home care supplies that allow her to provide the best care.

The last three items on this list will become essential in case of an emergency or natural disaster. These tools are not often used, but it pays to be prepared.

First Aid Kit

As our loved ones age, the risk for falls, skin tears, and injuries also rises. Having a first aid kit on hand allows your caregiver to provide care for minor non emergent situations.

According to the Red Cross, a good first aid kit will have the following items :

  • 2 absorbent compress dressings (5 x 9 inches)
  • 25 adhesive bandages (assorted sizes)
  • 1 adhesive cloth tape (10 yards x 1 inch)
  • 5 antibiotic ointment packets (approximately 1 gram)
  • 5 antiseptic wipe packets
  • 2 packets of aspirin (81 mg each)
  • Blanket
  • 1 breathing barrier (with one-way valve)
  • 1 instant cold compress
  • 2 pair of non-latex gloves (size: large)
  • 2 hydrocortisone ointment packets (approximately 1 gram each)
  • Scissors
  • 1 roller bandage (3 inches wide)
  • 1 roller bandage (4 inches wide)
  • 5 sterile gauze pads (3 x 3 inches)
  • 5 sterile gauze pads (4 x 4 inches)
  • Oral thermometer (non-mercury/non-glass)
  • 2 triangular bandages
  • Tweezers
  • First aid instruction booklet

The items in the first aid kit should regularly be checked for expiration dates.

Witch hazel and/or Alcohol

Witch hazel and alcohol are both mild cleansers for treating minor cuts.

Sanitary Personal Protective Equipment

Sanitary personal protective equipment that protect both the client and caregiver are essential to have on hand. These include:

  • Gloves: Caregivers will need this if they are involved in providing personal care like bathing or toileting help to your elderly loved one.
  • Facial Masks: These come in handy if either your elderly loved one or caregiver has an easily-transmitted airborne infection.
  • Gowns/aprons to protect clothes.

Incontinence products

Extra adult briefs and Chucks Pads (these are water-resistant under pads that can be placed underneath your loved one while they are resting in bed) are a must-have home care supply if your elderly loved one has had challenges with controlling bowel movements or urine.

Transfer/Gait Belts

Improper transfers can lead to injuries for both caregiver and loved one.Transfer or gait belts provide extra support for the caregiver to safely and easily transfer a client.

How a gait belt works:

  1. Put the gait belt around the client’s waist over his/her clothing and buckle it properly in the front
  2. Be sure the belt is snug with just enough room underneath it for you or the caregiver to maneuver your fingers
  3. Keeping your back straight, bend your knees and grip the belt tightly
  4. Lift or move the client using your arm and leg muscles
  5. Transfer client into the appropriate position
  6. Remove the gait belt once the transfer is complete

Adjustable over bed table with wheels

An adjustable over bed table with wheels is useful especially for clients who have limited mobility. You can serve food on a wheeled table to make meal times easier and more effective.

It is useful in administering medication and is handy in promoting independence even when your elderly loved one is bed bound.

Skin Barrier Creams

Skin breakdown is a common problem with our aging loved ones. It especially becomes a concern when they have limited mobility. Skin creams that protect the client’s skin are essential in this case.

Pressure ulcers (also called bed sores) are known to occur with limited mobility as well. Having caregivers apply the appropriate skin cream to areas that are most prone to pressure ulcers – typically the bottom area, heels, elbows and the back of the head – encourages blood flow to these areas and reduces the risk of pressure ulcers.

Rinse-free personal care items

On those days when your elderly loved one does not want to be moved into the shower or bath tub, rinse-free personal care items are great for maintaining personal hygiene.

Dry shampoos, leave-in conditioners and rinse-free body wash are all available from your local store or Amazon.

Electrolytes and fluids

Your elderly loved ones are at risk from dehydration and Electrolyte imbalances.

Having electrolyte fluids around the house allows caregivers to regularly encourage intake to prevent imbalances and dehydration.

To make sure you are giving the right kind of electrolytes and appropriate levels of fluids for your loved one, talk to your geriatric doctor.

LED Flashlights

In case of an emergency, have LED flashlight on hand. Make sure to show the caregiver where you store all the emergency equipment.

Extra cell phone batteries

In case of an emergency, your caregiver and elderly loved one will need to get and stay in touch with you or with local authorities. Backup cell phone batteries or portable chargers help prevent communication issues due to power loss.

Fire Extinguisher

A fire extinguisher to put out small fires is the last item on this list. If your home or that of your elderly loved one is not outfitted with one, today is the day to start thinking of doing so.

Closing Thoughts

In this post you we gave you 12 home care supplies to have on hand for your caregiver for everyday use and in case of emergencies.

Each listed supply plays a role in keeping your elderly loved one safe and protected. Check out this article, San Diego Home Care – Everything You Need to Know, for more information about setting up home care.

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Green Tree Home Care - 9466 Cuyamaca Street #102, Santee, CA 92071