Food is very vital to both our body and soul, and it remains one of the most notable ways we show love to people we care about. When families are going through tough times or great distress, they often turn to familiar traditions to encourage togetherness, bring about comfort, and express love, and these traditions often involve food. However, at end of life, a good number of people no longer desire food or drink.
Have it in mind that a hospice patient’s nutrition tends to vary from that of a healthy person. At that point, the body of the person is in the process of shutting down. Their system no longer needs a lot of nutrients or calories to convert to energy and therefore, their appetite or desire for food declines. The person at the end of life may not experience hunger or thirst the same way a healthy person does.
According to medical experts, this change in nutrition is an expected normal process and it is our body’s way of protecting itself. If a person with a life-limiting illness in the later stages of their disease is forced to eat or drink when they do not want to, this may transcend to certain physical symptoms that can cause more discomfort or complications.
Also note that the introduction of IV fluids at this late stage of life can instigate complications like edema, which is swelling within the tissues, coupled with “fluid overload”, which can cause many threatening symptoms. Good hospice guidance from a trained professional may be imperative to avoid nutrition complications.
Just like it was noted above, the loss of appetite and thirst is a natural process once the body starts to ready itself for death. Owing to that, it is recommended that you let your loved one choose or determine what, how much and how often they want to eat or drink. You should never actively force or withhold foods and fluids.
In some situations, your loved one might be craving something or asking for a specific food or drink. It is good to honor these requests as long as there are no pertinent restrictions placed on their nutrition. If you are not sure about a specific item, consult the hospice nurse or consider the following top foods mentioned below.
What are the Best Foods for Hospice Patients in 2023?
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Beans remain one of the best meals to offer hospice patients as it is well-renowned as an antioxidant. Red beans are known to have more per serving in terms of protein, vitamins, calcium, and fiber. Pinto beans, small red beans, black beans, and kidney beans are also good options for high antioxidant content.
Chicken Enchilada Casserole
Chicken enchiladas are a delicious staple dinner food for a good number of people. This meal is unique and enticing, making it a good meal option for hospice patients. Since this casserole is fitted with decadent flavors, it’s a perfect option for people who have a hard time with subtle flavor or chewing food.
Dark Leafy Greens
Have it in mind that leafy greens like spinach, kale, dandelion greens, and arugula are very necessary superfoods for any senior’s diet. Since dark leafy greens carry high doses of Vitamin K, and they help to ensure blood clotting and reduce bone fragility, it is another perfect option to consider for hospice patients. Infuse these greens into their salad or cook them into a pasta sauce for easy intake of their daily Vitamin K!
Even for hospice patients, settling in with a warm, tasty bowl of oatmeal on a winter morning is an option. Have it in mind that this meal is fully fitted with vitamins A and C (from the pumpkin) as well as being rich in dietary fibers (from the oats).
Note that cinnamon taken daily as a supplement according to experts help to reduce total cholesterol, and is almost the same as taking statin drugs. In addition to the above, another wonderful thing about cinnamon is that it helps the body use insulin efficiently and cuts blood sugar levels up to 30 percent.
Truth be told, fruit salads are very easy to make, enticing to eat, and very much customizable to suit individual tastes. Fruit salad recipes well prepared tend to incorporate fruits high in vitamin C with a good amount of honey and orange juice to make a delicious anti-bacterial breakfast food that’s both healthy and refreshing.
Also consider berries, kiwis, and mango as they can bring in a twist to classic fruit salad, while sliced apples and grapes ensure that things stay classy and simple.
According to experts, salmon carries a good amount of Omega -3 fatty acids. These Omega 3 acids help to lower blood fat count, and this will in turn help lower the risk of a heart attack in hospice patients. Consider baking your salmon in the oven at 425 degrees with a little sprinkle of olive oil and season to your liking.
You can serve this meal to hospice patients with a whole grain (such as brown rice) and a green vegetable for a complete meal that not only tastes good but is good for their system.
Just as we all know, green tea aids in digestion and can help boost human metabolism. If a hospice patient is dealing with constipation or a bloated stomach, a few cups of green tea can help bring relief. In the same vein, if you or the hospice patient you are caring for overeats, a cup or two of green tea can work as an appetite suppressant. Green Tea is fully fitted with vitamins and nutrients. Consider serving it with a bit of honey or lemon.
Basil Tomato Mozzarella Salad with Quinoa
Note that this is a light Mediterranean salad that is well-renowned for its wonderful flavors, is appropriate as a lunchtime dish for seniors and hospice patients. Note that the quinoa in this meal is fully fitted with assorted nutrients, and the spices offer additional healing and health benefits too.
Fresh tomatoes and mozzarella complement the dish and ensure the appeasing textures that make this meal both eatable and nutritious at the same time.
Creamy Vegetable Soup
Very easy to make and quite healthy for hospice patients, the vegetable soup can be made with whole milk rather than cream. This is renowned as a healthier alternative to regular creamy vegetable soup. Also, note that the plentitude of vegetables coupled with the dairy guarantees that the patient will receive an extra dosage of vitamin B12 while also getting a lot of other nutrients along the way.