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I live with my dad as his full-time caregiver and try to fit in 3 healthy meals each day, but that's challenging since he doesn't get up until 10 or 11am due to the many nighttime trips to the bathroom because of his over-active water pipes (yes, he takes meds for it). I shoot for giving him a meal about every 4hrs, but with his inability to be physically active, it tends to make him constipated. He walks with a rolater and pedals on the recumbent exercise bike for 10 min about every other day, but mostly sits and reads and watches evening TV programs. He's quite good about drinking lots of water throughout the day -- he has a large designated mug -- but having meals so close together doesn't allow him the in-between-meals snacks that he so likes, like half an apple fritter with a small glass of milk, or crackers with cheese and grapes or apple slices. Add into the mix the fact that his appetite is just not what it used to be when he was an active farmer, and it creates quite a challenge for me. Can anyone else relate? Suggestions, please!

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A few suggestions:
#1 Bananas
#2 Milk shakes
#3 Ensure
#4 Boost
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There is a down side to weight gain.
If he is having any joint problems more weight can put a stress and cause pain that he may not have now.
Building muscle would be a better goal than just weight.
Longer walks. Maybe even putting books or other weights in the basket on his rolling walker. Resistance bands while he is sitting might help.
Increase protein in the foods that he does eat.
If he has cereal in the morning use boost or other nutritional beverage rather than milk.
Add oil like coconut oil to foods, this will increase calorie count as well as possibly help with constipation. (By the way try a herbal tea called "Smooth Move" it works pretty well and I would also give my Husband a blend of papaya and pineapple to help move things along. Both are found in over the counter products to help with constipation. And last but not least Hospice suggested what they called "The Bomb" 1/4 Cup each of prune juice, orange juice and milk of magnesia warmed up. these are the things I resorted to before having to use magnesium citrate)
I also switched my Husbands meals around so he got the highest calorie and largest meal in the morning so if he slept most of the day and missed lunch I knew he at least had a good meal.
I think Nestle also makes a product that can be added to food, it is basically oil that is flavorless that adds about 300 calories to whatever you add it to. It is called Benecalorie it is also high protein.
Another option would be to ask for a referral if needed to a dietitian that could help you set a goal for a balance of high calorie, protein that will satisfy the doctor.
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My dad could actually stand to lose a few pounds, but, he's not a big eater. Never has been. He's now more into snack foods like ice cream and cookies. They have added pounds on him. Maybe, not the most nutritious, but, at age 80, I think he's entitled to eat what he pleases.
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Our homehealth nurse suggested combining Ensure and ice cream (especially flavored) into a shake. Maybe he'd like that.
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BichonMomma, thanks for the tip about Naked Mass, when I investigated protein supplements all the ones I found were either sweetened and flavoured, tasted awful, or the serving size was impossible.
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My husband was quite thin and unable to gain weight. He finally was able to gain when we gave him high calorie protein drinks. We mixed coconut oil with nuts and cream and ricotta and fruit and whey protein. You could add juice to make it sweeter. If he likes it he can snack on it. There are also high calorie protein bars that can be quite tasty.
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I fall back on Hot Cocoa made with Ensure Plus and add ice cream. It guarantees the calories, my DH loves it, and I can relax that he's eaten another meal. Between the Hot Cocoa and Fish Sticks, my DH has passed another year and celebrated his 96th birthday last month.

Watching TV is wonderful! It's better than sleeping all day!
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I use Naked Mass. It is a powder that we add to my 90 year old mom's coffee(looks like milk when stirred), pasta sauce (thickens the sauce), mayonnaise etc...anything that we can add it to so that she know about it. She has dementia and refuses to drink the supplements such as Boost, stating they are too sweet. Naked Mass is not sweet. So far, mom has gained 3 lbs in 2 months of using it. BTW, I have no affiliation or monetary gain from the product Naked Mass. Good luck.
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You could also try adding more herbs and spices to his food so that it has more flavor. I'm not talking about hot spices such as cayenne pepper or chili. Try adding some curry powder or cumin to vegetables, majoram to soup, basil or oregano to tomato sauce, or use some of the no salt combination seasonings. Costco has a nice no salt seasoning although some of the bits are a little rough, so you would want to put it in a hot item and be sure it dissolves. We use a private brand we found in Las Vegas at a celebrity store in Harrah's. Toby Keith has a seasoned salt and a seasoned pepper. We use the pepper and it has a lot of flavors (garlic, rosemary, etc.) and is finely ground. You can go online I believe at his website, tobykeith.com, and find it. We usually just pick up several bottles each time we are in Vegas.

For my mom, when she got to the point of not eating much and was losing weight, we began to buy protein drinks that were shelf stable (like Pure Protein), in chocolate and give her half a bottle in the afternoon as a snack with a cookie, or warm it a bit and give it to her as hot chocolate.

Yes, more frequent food servings seems to work better than 3 meals. A full meal looks overwhelming and can create anxiety. Serve smaller meals with snacks every couple of hours. Sit with your dad while he eats and chat. If you are not eating then have work there that you can do such as checking email, paying bills, doing a puzzle, craft handwork, and just make comments here and there. When he says that he is full, don't take away his plate. Just chit chat, ask what he thought of the food, do anything to create a relaxed atmosphere. There is a good chance he will eat a few more bites. Don't fuss or complain, just chill. Good Luck.
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Beer to accompany meal or as dessert every night:
Budweiser’s Lime a Rita various flavors and like 400+ calories. These puppies
come in small cans too so you can bring them in a purse easily.
Sierra Nevada Big Foot 330 cal
“. “. Hoptimum 314 cal
Sam Adams Double Bock. 323 cal
“. “. Chocolate bock 230 & yes smells like chocolate
Most stores do build your own 6 packs, so you can get a variety.
The higher calorie beers are usually sweeter. Some outrageously sweeter but for old taste buds this could be a good thing!
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Sounds like you are on the right track HVdaughter. Dad will appreciate being presented with multiple snacks rather than sitting down and being expected to clean his plate. You can put all the health foods into his snacks. he is much less active than he used to be so does not get as hungry but an enticing snack may stimulate him.
Could you include a snack in bed before he gets up in the morning. A cup of coffee and a cookie for example or whatever he fancies.
Try not to worry about the need to gain weight. of course it does give him some reserves if he becomes ill but many people as they age do slim down. it is just part of the aging process.
Dad is very lucky to have you careing for him. he sounds a very nice old man. Keep that sense of humor going.
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Thanks so much for the responses! Dad does enjoy a variety of high-calorie dairy foods, so I'll add this in more where I can. I've since done some more searching on this website and discovered the wealth of experienced advice on nutrition and diet. I'm thinking about tossing aside the 3meals a day plan and considering the more frequent but smaller meals plan. I told my dad, who thankfully still has all mental faculties intact and has a great sense of humor about all of this, that I was going to adjust his diet and eating schedule, and he gave me a wink and a thumbs up. :)
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I'm facing the same problem and haven't yet worked out a solution. One issue that I haven't figure out is why my father gained weight when in rehab, but lost weight before and after when he was home.

The pureed food was prepared for him, was more restrictive than at home, he worked out more and was more regimented in that the facility essentially established the time line. In addition, he had to wait for assistance when he needed anything.

He didn't eat as much at home before or after, so I think the only explanation could be that he had a la carte menus and could order anything and did, and that all the food was prepared for him.

Some of these can't be implemented, but I'm trying to focus on what can. I think maybe he just gets tired of heating his own food, and that it's pureed and not as appetizing. Plus, his choices are now much more limited.

He likes cookies and can eat them if dunked in applesauce, so I buy those. The more calories the better!

Increasing socialization buoys spirits, so I'm trying that. I'm also planning some projects we can do together, if I can ever get caught up.

We're preparing for a hunker down winter so he doesn't have to go out; winter travel in Michigan can be a real challenge. He's preparing his own list of what he wants and needs, so he's participating in this effort. I think that's important, that elders assist in planning events, meals, and more, to believe that they still have a say in the direction of their lives.

Doctors have recommended Ensure Plus; we get that at half price through Meals on Wheels and he likes it. You might try that.

What else does your father enjoy doing? Going on color tours in the Fall? Going out to eat? Man caves? (That seems to be a real stimulant!)
Can you factor in a weekly trip to HD or Lowe's, for example? Does he read?

Beyond this, from what I understand, at a certain stage of life, or the end thereof, the body begins shutting down and just doesn't need as much food, and I don't know of any way to counteract that.
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As I was sprinkling walnuts over my morning oatmeal I thought I should come back to add that nuts and seeds (like sunflower) are great high calorie, heart health snacks.
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Think about all the advice you have read through the years about eating for weight loss and do the opposite..., plan every meal around maximum calories. Whole milk vs skim. High fat cream in his coffee. A pat of butter and brown sugar on his oatmeal. Cheese on his veggies, gravy on his meats, extra mayo on his sandwiches, fruit juice instead of water....
Constipation can be a real challenge, since he drinks enough he is a good candidate for an added fiber such as Metamucil. Miralax is a great safe extra if needed.
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Dear HVsdaughter,

It sounds like you are doing everything you can to ensure your dad eats properly. I wonder if any of his meds could be affecting his appetite?

My grandmother loves to have Ensure or Boost as a supplement to her diet. I wonder if this might also help your dad. I always gave my dad all his favorite foods. It seemed to be the only way he would eat. I know that is not always easy given their health conditions, but maybe a treat meal would help him.
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