Food is more than a source of nourishment, health and wellbeing; it's also one of the ways we show our love and care.
It can be very difficult for the family when a loved one loses the desire or the ability to eat as normal. As someone becomes more unwell, their body needs less energy, and physical changes may also make it uncomfortable or difficult to chew or swallow.
However, you can help by making some small changes, along with offering meals that look and taste good.
Ideas to encourage eating and drinking
How to manage common issues
There are many common issues and symptoms that may impact your loved one’s ability, or desire, to eat or drink. Below are some practical tips you can try to help make eating and drinking more enjoyable and easier to manage.
If your loved one is complaining of a sore mouth, offer soft, easily chewed foods.
It's also important to help them maintain good oral health. Use the steps below to help keep their teeth and gums clean and their lips moist and comfortable.
Process for mouth care
Offer clear fluids or foods that are easily digested (e.g. broths).
Discuss with your GP or Hospice team, who will help you adjust your expectations appropriately.
Only offer food and drink if the person is awake and alert.
Your GP and Hospice care team are here to help, so don’t hesitate to discuss any concerns with them. Always follow advice and suggestions from your medical team to keep your loved one safe.
Easy recipes & ideas
Food Suggestions for Homebased Palliative Care has been created by Harbour Hospice to help you prepare nutritious and tasty food to tempt your loved one’s appetite.
It’s full of quick and easy ideas and recipes for snacks, low-fibre foods, soups, meat and fish dishes and desserts, and ways to make the most of convenience foods.
Speech and language therapy
If the person you're caring for is having trouble swallowing or talking, a speech and language therapist can provide advice, exercises and aides that may help.
Ask your GP or Hospice care team about a referral to the Waitemata DHB community Speech and Language Therapy team.