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6 Tips to Help Your Senior as She Heals continued...

"If someone just wants to eat pudding all day, it may not be what you think they should be eating, but maybe you can work with that," she says.

Glick often fortifies favorite foods to improve nutrition. She’ll add whole milk or protein powder to the pudding, for example.

Offering nutrition supplement drinks as snacks between meals can also help you meet her calorie needs. However, the drinks should be used as supplements, not meal replacements.

4. Focus on healing nutrients. When feeding your loved one, choose foods with nutrients that help healing. Foods rich in vitamin C and zinc are particularly helpful for seniors recovering from any type of skin wound, Glick says.

  • Vitamin C. Because supermarket juices can lose their vitamin C content, she recommends whole citrus fruits. Try tangerines, juice squeezed at home, or homemade smoothies that include vitamin C-rich fruits such as strawberries.

  • Zinc. This mineral is found in fortified breakfast cereal, beef, crab and other shellfish, and chicken.

  • Vitamin D. Found in milk, salmon, and tuna, vitamin D may also help seniors as they recover. According to studies, having enough vitamin D can mean a lower risk of falls and fractures with falls. It may be a good idea to give your senior vitamin and mineral supplements. Talk to her doctor.

5. Keep her hydrated. When you're hydrated, your kidneys work well, and kidneys need to be in top form to deal with illness and healing. Lyles recommends that the people she works with place a full pitcher of water in the fridge in the morning, and to try to drink it all by the end of the day.

If your senior isn't able to get up and around, keep a water bottle by her bed or favorite chair. Water-rich fruits such as watermelon and broth soups can also help ward off dehydration.  

6. Get help. If your loved one loses 5% or more of her body weight, talk to her doctor, Lyles says. He can check for underlying problems, including digestion issues or depression. These problems can make it harder to maintain body weight and heal.