Eating well at home
Anglicare is encouraging good nutrition for older Tasmanians – with practical support for people to eat well and remain living independently at home.
Good nutrition is important for everyone, but there are special things to consider with age. For example, it’s important for older people to consume protein to maintain muscles. Good sources of protein are fish, meat, eggs, nuts, peanut butter, milk, cheese, yoghurt, custard and legumes such as baked beans. Older people also have an increased need for calcium and a range of vitamins.
“Our Home Care Services team is trained to partner with older Tasmanians to support good nutrition,” said Connie Bruckard, Anglicare’s General Manager of Home Care Services. “Our workers understand the importance of healthy eating for older people and can help people to manage issues such as poor appetite, or chewing or swallowing difficulties”.
Older people are encouraged to eat at least three meals a day, and to try to include foods from all of the five food groups. It’s also important to keep drinking plenty of fluids – water is best. Not drinking enough affects our ability to think, as well as our digestion.
“Sometimes people experience diminished appetite, but it is still important to eat at regular times, even when you don’t feel hungry,” Connie explained. “When this happens, soups or milk drinks can be a good alternative. Or try eating small meals spread across the day, rather than a few larger ones”.
Older people may have a reduced sense of taste or smell, which means they avoid some foods they previously enjoyed. It’s not uncommon for people to have problems with eating because of ill-fitting dentures, a sore mouth or tongue, or facial or muscle weakness.
“If eating is physically difficult – we can help with that,” said Connie. “We have clinically trained staff who can provide special dietary advice. If people are diabetic or require a special diet, we can help with tailored meal planning.”
“Our team is here to support healthy eating by assisting with day-to-day practicalities like grocery shopping, cleaning and meal preparation,” said Connie. Workers also support people by cleaning fridges and stoves and removing out-of-date food.
“Over the past year we’ve experienced a 35% increase in the number of people seeking our home care support. This is a reflection of the positive difference we are making to the lives of Tasmanians,” she said.
Anglicare provides this support through home care packages. Many people may be eligible for full or part funding from the Australian government towards the cost of these packages. To make this application process easier to follow, simple steps have been set out on Anglicare’s website at Aged and Home Care Services