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Finding it difficult to eat

My grandad died last year and my nan has coped reasonably well being on her own after nearly 60 years of marriage, but I am a bit concerned as she has been losing weight and I'm worried she isn't eating very well.

She has recently moved into a smaller flat which doesn't have room for a table, which I think is putting her off as they never liked to eat on their laps but she doesn't have a choice now.

Any advice on easy things to eat whilst sitting down/other ideas about how to make sure she is eating enough would be really helpful. There are only so many times we can take her out for lunch/dinner!

11 Replies

EM1234 -- Although your nan doesn't have room for a table, can you set up a small folding table that is meant for temporary use? I am 86 years old and live in an independent living community that serves meals, but I also like to have snacks on one of those little folding tables that I leave up permanently. Making sure your nan is eating is not easy. Perhaps there are some kind of nutrition bars she could have as snacks. How old is she? Does she have to prepare her own meals? You may want to reevaluate whether your nan can continue living on her own. Although I am mobile and competent to take charge of my medications and finances, I realized a year ago that I could not continue living alone.


Hiya jaykay thanks for replying so quickly!

She is only 76 and is actually very active (she does her own shopping, goes swimming etc) and can keep the place tidy and clean and has her own kitchen etc. I think she is just so used to eating at the table it is a bit of a routine change for her. She only moved last month so haven't really thought of it before but a temporary table is actually a really good idea. She could then fold it away if she doesn't need it but it would be easier than her lap/a coffee table.

Nutrition bars are also a great shout.. we used to get high calorie ones for my grandad when he was ill so I might see what I can find.

That's great you took the decision yourself that you couldn't continue living alone.. it must be a hard thing to accept but actually means an easier life in the long run I bet?


Your nan is doing very well. Swimming is a wonderful activity for all aspects of health; I used to do it until a few years ago. Yes, you are right about my decision. I also made the move because my children don't live near me and still have teenagers at home.


Please bear in mind that your nan is recently bereaved and grief can completely strip you of an appetite for a long time.

In a way, part of this may be about the lack of a table but but In general her whole life has been turned upside down.

Your nan might be suffering from some clinical depression and it could be that it is more general support that she's in need of.

But it's also true that for older people who have had a long standing eating routine, you just can't cope with, or even just can't think of a new way of eating.

How about going on a few supermarket trips with her, suggesting some easy prep foods that need no trouble to prepare. Then, suggest a tray table for her, with maybe a bud vase and a napkin, so that it feels more formal.

But remember that eating alone after years of company can be very soul destroying and regaining a wish to eat may take some time. Encourage your nan to snack frequently rather than eat meals, if she really can't face it right now.

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Difficult, her whole life has changed, I bought my husband a small table on a stand that pulls up to his chair, he loves it , after eating you can just store it in a corner, look on the disability site on amazon. Why don't you get a few meals in every two weeks from Wiltshire Farm foods, they cn be stores in the freezer and prepared in the microwave, talk to her doctor may be she needs some food supplements you can get for her on prescription. She is of course grieving and could be very lonely, I have been married 52 years and know how I would feel. Age concern are very good they have folks called befrienders. You know life has changed so much for your nan, husbnd friend and companion gone, new place o live she has had to make so many adustments hat I think is wonderful is she has a grand-daughter like you who loves her so much and cares. Give her time and of course talk to her doctor.

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Hi there, I agree with all the ideas above but heres a few suggestions food wise, cuppa soups can be a life line plus things that can be kept in the fridge and eaten by hand examples trifles, biscuits, snacks, cheese dips. Chocolate can be a life saver if all else fails, of course not sure what your Nan would like or is allowed to eat. My mum ate pears , bananas and Quavers rather than things that needed cutlery or a table, but she ate more if there was company with her, she was 97. Bereavement triggers strange feelings when you get older and not suprisingly illnesses like depression. Hope all works well for you, you can only do your best.

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Hi EM1234, there are some excellent suggestions from others on this forum. It is great that your nan remains active. It may be an idea for her to see her GP just for a general health check. Would there be room for a drop leaf table and chair? You may be able to buy one second hand if they no longer sell them in the shops. Best wishes.


Hi everyone thanks for all of your advice it is really appreciated and lots of ideas I can use.

Thanks again :-)


All great ideas I certainly think a GP check up is a good idea for her health and also support nutritionally and mentally but this is as people have said a short time just keep supporting and loving her she's doing well by swimming etc she's not shut herself away and obviously has energy to swim

Good luck x


Have you tried a small folding table I got one from b and m bargains for my mother in law and is great



Sorry to hear about your grandmother losing weight.

She maybe unable to cope due to significant changes in her life.

There's a wheeled tray that you can buy from Amazon. It takes up very little space. Check measurements first. Follow the link. Hope this helps. Wish you all the best.


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