Soft foods for Elderly

Lafayette, IN(Zone 5a)

Hi, everyone,

I take care of my mother who is 82 and I need suggestions for soft, tasty food.

This evening I am making a "soft" meatloaf in which I soaked Stove Top stuffing mix with milk, microwaved it, then combined it with some herbs and onion before mixing it into ground beef and sausage. I'm also making mashed potatoes with cream cheese.

If anyone has suggestions for other soft foods, please post them. Mom says she doesn't like soups although she seems to enjoy the soups I have made on occasion. One of her favoriet foods is pizza but it is difficult for her to eat.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions!

Mary Jo

LA, So CAL (Northrid, CA(Zone 10a)

what is her diagnosis. does she need the soft foods for swallowing??


Lafayette, IN(Zone 5a)

Sorry, I didn't realize you had replied. Mom has AD but also has difficulty with her dentures. Dental specialists tell us it is a problem of her gums being aged and even new dentures won't help, only surgery which isn't recommended due to her age. Foods such as pickles give her a difficult time but some soft burgers and fish, etc. work fine for her.

So far no difficulty with swallowing. She *thinks* she does not like vegetables, even salad, but she seems to like it fine when I put it in front of her. She is still a cheeful person and we know how fortunate we are for that. She went through a rough period fighting the frustration associated with AD, but since my sis and I have been caring for her she has become much more pleasant.


Newport News, VA(Zone 7b)

Hi, not sure if you are still looking for ideas, but those of us with braces also need soft foods as we can't chew as well as others.

I like "porcupine meatballs", which are made with rice mixed in with the ground beef, and has a tomato sauce. I also like casseroles made with veggies, such as a squash casserole made with croutons, shredded zuchinni and yellow squash, mushroom soup, and sour cream. Cheese enchiladas are nice as are omelettes made with bacon bits and cheese, or quiches. She can probably eat more than you think as long as you chop the meat fine so that chewing isn't needed much. Even tender, good-quality meats can be cut into small pieces and enjoyed for the flavors.

Suggest you google the names above and find a recipe that sounds good to you as there are different versions.


LA, So CAL (Northrid, CA(Zone 10a)

just remember to let her eat what she likes, and the only way is just to offer alternatives. Soft foods are a good idea as swallowing can become a risk with the illness. Finger foods are good when using utensils get complicated.

rice dishes, macaroni dishes.......


Lafayette, IN(Zone 5a)

Thank you for the suggestions. I have been successfully experimenting with various foods. We have a wonderful locally owned grocery that specializes in fresh meats and veggies/fruits, as well as fresh-smoked meats. I buy the pulled pork or chicken, etc. and put it through the blender along with the barbeque sauce/veggies and Mom loves it. I am relying more and more on the food processor to help prepare foods that she can eat in a reduced form, which still maintains its health benefits.

Largosmom, the meatballs sound excellent as do the vegetables. I think she likes roasted veggies, as long as I coat them with olive oil and/or butter so that they remain soft.

Sheran, you are on the mark - I only give Mom what she likes, I never ask her to eat anything else. She does love finger foods!

Thank you again for your suggestions and support. I'll continue experimenting - it's interesting and a pleasure for Mom and for me.

LA, So CAL (Northrid, CA(Zone 10a)

And the funny thing, if you can find humor, is that your mom probably eats things that she NEVER liked.

Two items to be careful of salad and hotdogs , if swallowing is an problem, they are both very dangerous.

Lafayette, IN(Zone 5a)

Sheran, thank you for the advice. So far swallowing is not a problem at all, just chewing. Mom says she doesn't want salad but when I place mine on the table, she welcomes some for herself. I will be attentive to swallowing problems.

Mom's cognitive abilities are so much sharper when Ishe is enjoying food. She actually seems to be improving considerably.

Weston, WV(Zone 6b)

I dont know if anyone has ever told you how to cook meat until it is so tender it falls apart when you touch it or not but i can help you out with that!, I take care of a 97 yr old woman who doesnt wear her dentures because they hurt her so much! She loves beef, pork and chicken. So i just brown the meat in a fry pan real good, then take some water, after it is all browned up nicely and cook it in water in the frying pan for about an hour, depending on how thick your meat is, it can take longer! It needs to simmer with a lid the whole time! Just enough water to cover the meat half way! You can also throw veggies in there to flavor the meat too even though she doesnt like them! They add tons of flavor to the meat! you could eat the veggies!!
My mother taught me that secret years ago to cook meat in water after you brown it real good. My client eats the meat up like it is candy! She has no trouble with the meats and loves the way i cook just for her!!

Try it maybe she will like it!!

Hit me up if you need more info on how to cook or just want to chat about it!

Good luck dear!

Lafayette, IN(Zone 5a)

Lisa, thank you! I will give that a try. You have got me thinking about meat/vegetable combinations I can cook together. It reminds me of my father's fried chicken - first he fried it, then steamed it until it was quite tender.

I learned from Mom to slow-cook meat (Adele Davis' book Let's Cook It Right) and that has also been very helpful. It prevents the nutrients from breaking down, maintains the juiciness and flavor which reduces shrinking yet the meat is quite tender. Your method might work better for incorporating vegetables with the meat as it cooks. Mom typically doesn't eat beef, but she likes all the other meats - and savory spices that are gentle on the stomach.

In the last three months Mom has gained 6 pounds after losing 30, so we're moving in the right direction. Part of it is that winter has limited her activity.

Thank you again for the suggestion!

Weston, WV(Zone 6b)

Woohoo she has gained 6 lbs....means you are doing something right!! Keep up the good cooking!!!

Let us know if you need any other ideas or recipes!

LA, So CAL (Northrid, CA(Zone 10a)

the two worst foods for swallowing and chewing problems... ready.

hot dogs and salads, so be careful.

Lafayette, IN(Zone 5a)

Thanks, sheran. I will watch for those.

Forunately, Mom is still doing OK with swallowing. It is her teeth and dentures that cause the trouble. Soon she sees a dentist and after that work is finished, she will get new dentures. I dread the dental work ...

Pelzer, SC(Zone 7b)

Don't know if this will help, but I have an idea on the pizza problem. I had experience with someone who loved pizza, but couldn't chew. We decided to try to get the flavors, at least, into a finger food. We had success with two preps, but it will depned on your Mom. One was the jumbo (stuffing) pasta shells, and the other was soft tortillas. If you use just enough sauce to hold things together, you can fill the shells with warm sauce/meat (sausage was the favorite) top with mozzarella, and just broil til the chees begins to melt. Even if though you let it cool long enough to handle, the filling stays warm, but the shell can be picked up easily. The tortilla (and some pitas are soft enough) is prepared open, broiled, cooled and then rolled. If you turn in the bottom edge before rolling it hardly drips at all.
We also adapted other dishes to this, when fingers began to be a better choice than utensils. I made lasgna (riccotta, mozzarella, sauce and meat, baked and then cooled)swedish meatballs (one per shell), chicken and gravy, even chicken pot pies. The trick to any is to keep the mixture fairly dry, so it doesn't drip or leak. You can still keep the fillings very moist, but not runny.
Hope this helps.

Lafayette, IN(Zone 5a)


What a great idea! Mom will love them. She enjoys flavorful food but her teeth are a problem. Dentures will never fit her right again, so the softer foods are the ticket.

Thank you so much!

Mary Jo

Pelzer, SC(Zone 7b)

Wince. Having just been thru major dental work I can relate. It's tough to get things soft enough, but still with _some_ texture and flavor.
Hope she finds some combinations she likes,

edited bacause I haven't finished my coffee.....

This message was edited Oct 12, 2007 7:00 AM

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