Mealtime Challenges in Alzheimer’s Care: Solutions for Common Eating Issues

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Not being able or willing to eat is common among seniors with Alzheimer’s. For instance, some seniors may not get vital vitamins and nutrients because sensory or motor issues impede their ability to eat independently. A senior might also be experiencing a lack of appetite as the result of medications or changes resulting from the natural aging process. By identifying your aging loved one’s specific eating obstacles and working with his or her doctor, you can devise a plan to promote healthy and regular eating. Following are a few tips to help you overcome common eating problems related to Alzheimer’s disease.

 

Encourage Appetite 

Seniors often experience a decrease in appetite with age, and the same goes for those with Alzheimer’s. To combat this problem, employ the following strategies: 

    • Offer smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day as opposed to three set meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner
    • Serve one type of food at a time to prevent anxiety over too many choices
    • Add flavor with garlic, onions, and herbs to create more flavorful foods and make meals more appealing to seniors experiencing a decreased sense of taste

A trained Alzheimer’s caregiver can provide expertise and additional support to encourage your loved one to eat. If you’re the primary family caregiver for an elderly loved one and need additional assistance providing high-quality senior care, Assisting Hands Home Care can help. We are a leading home care agency committed to helping seniors live longer and healthier lives.

 

Overcome Motor Issues 

Alzheimer’s can result in a loss of motor skills, which may affect all areas of life, including eating meals. To assist your loved one, you can: 

  • Show your loved one how to use utensils to eat certain foods, such as a scooping motion that allows him or her to mimic what you’re doing and promotes independent eating
  • Serve finger foods that can easily be picked up
  • Remain as patient and calm as possible, as showing frustration or anger can discourage your loved one from trying to eat

Helping your loved one get proper nutrition when he or she doesn’t want to eat can be exhausting. If you have a senior loved one who needs help maintaining a high quality of life while aging in place, reach out to Assisting Hands Home Care, a leading provider of home care Frederick families can trust. Our caregivers help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and we offer mentally stimulating activities that can boost cognitive health. 

 

Create an Inviting Atmosphere 

Due to sensory issues, many seniors with Alzheimer’s become particular about their eating environments. They may even forego eating if the atmosphere isn’t just right. To create a more inviting atmosphere: 

  • Serve colorful foods that can stimulate appetite
  • Use plates and bowls with colors that contrast with the food being served so your loved one can clearly identify the foods on his or her plate
  • Avoid patterned dishes, as these can cause more confusion
  • Minimize background noise and keep dinner guests to a few familiar faces to ensure the meal doesn’t become overwhelming
  • Allow for plenty of time to eat—mealtime should be a time of relaxation and enjoyment for the whole family

Professional caregivers with specialized experience in Alzheimer’s care can be a wonderful source of support for older adults with the disease. Without the right assistance, Alzheimer’s can be challenging for seniors and their families to handle. If you’re looking for professional Alzheimer’s care, Frederick Assisting Hands Home Care provides high-quality care aging adults and their families can count on. All of our caregivers are trained to help seniors with Alzheimer’s live happier and healthier lives, and we also provide specialized dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care. To learn about our high-quality in-home care services, give us a call today.