5 Key Tips to Help Spoon Feed Your Elder With Dignity

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5 Key Tips to Help Spoon Feed Your Elder With Dignity

As people enter their later years, the last thing they are usually able to do is support themselves. Once they are no longer able to perform this task, it is your responsibility, or someone who proves they care, to make the feeding process as dignified as possible. If you perform this task in a demeaning way, your elder may experience self-esteem issues, maintain a poor self-image, and may end up in a state of depression. Be respectful when feeding your elders – doing so will make the rest of their time more enjoyable.

You may find the following five tips helpful when dealing with feeding your elders:

1. Put a drop on the inside of your wrist to test food temperature

When you do this, ask your elders what temperature they prefer their food to be. If they say hot, obviously you’re not going to serve them food that will burn their mouths, but make sure they’re part of the process when determining the temperature of the food you serve them.

2. Don’t assume the entire meal has to be spoon-fed

If your elders ask for a spoon or fork but give them by all means, let them try to eat by themselves. If they can’t use reassuring words and praise them for trying.

3. Mix food for elders

Mix up meals – make it fun. For example, give them a bite of steak, then some veggies, and then maybe a bite of dessert to keep things interesting. Also – change the use of cutlery. Don’t always use a spoon, as this may make it feel like you are treating your elders like a baby. But in both cases, ask your elders first – give them a chance to make a decision.

4. Offer fluids frequently

This is important so that the food will be easier to digest. Also – always check the elder’s mouth after a meal to make sure all the food has been swallowed. If there is leftover food, be sure to let them spit it out or swallow it. If you don’t, it could be inhaled later, which could have serious consequences.

5. Do not ask elders to eat

Never, ever force your elders to eat. If they don’t want to eat, try again later. Never treat them like babies or tell them they will get sick if they don’t eat, or tell them they will eat their food as you ask them if they want you to be happy. Remember, dignity.

Always hold your senior in an upright position for at least 30 minutes after meals to prevent aspiration pneumonia.

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