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Proper nutrition is a vital part of maintaining a strong and healthy body. Unfortunately, at-home caregivers can have a very hard time getting seniors with Alzheimer’s to eat. Waning appetites, difficulty managing eating implements, and problems with cognitive functioning can all play a role in complicating these efforts. The good news is that there are several easy ways to stimulate a robust appetite and overcome many of the nutrition-related challenges that Alzheimer’s presents.
Make Meal Time a Quiet Time
Serve meals in a calm, quiet area and make sure that there are few potential distractions. If caring for a senior family member with Alzheimer’s in a busy home, try having your loved one eat right before everyone else does. Turn off the television or radio and create a simple, comfortable table setting. With fewer distractions, people with Alzheimer’s have a much greater likelihood of focusing on their food.
Keep Meals Small and Simple
While you might be tempted to load up your loved one’s plate, you’ll have greater success by offering a few modest portions instead. Smaller servings make people less likely to become overwhelmed. In some instances, it may even be best to serve a single dish at a time, rather than putting everything together on a single plate.
If weight loss has become a major concern, talk to your loved one’s doctor about using supplements between meals. His or her physician may be able to prescribe nutrient-rich shakes that provide additional calories, vitamins, and minerals. You can also look for recipes for making healthy, tasty shakes on your own at home.
Ensure Foods Aren’t Too Hot
Albuquerque Alzheimer’s care providers recommend checking the temperature of food before serving. Alzheimer’s can make it hard for people to tell whether or not their food or beverages are too hot to consume. Offering drinks and meals at room temperature is the best way to avoid burns and signs of aggression that are purely the result of physical pain.
Respect Changes in Food Preferences
Memory impairment can have a marked impact on a person’s palate. Long-standing favorites can always be offered as a way to entice a person with dementia to eat. However, caregivers should be mindful of the fact that some people with Alzheimer’s can develop all new food preferences and may turn down dishes that they loved in the past while expressing cravings for foods that they never cared for before.
The cause of a waning appetite may be as simple as insufficient exercise. Thus, if your senior family member has been dropping pounds, start looking for creative ways to increase daily activity levels. Putting the body in motion could stimulate a healthy appetite while promoting better eating habits overall.
Providing care for an aging loved one with Alzheimer’s becomes much more manageable with the right support in place. To learn more about the leading provider of home care Albuquerque families trust, call Home Care Assistance at 505-798-0800 and request a complimentary in-home consultation with a dedicated Care Manager.