Eating can be a big challenge for seniors who have Alzheimer’s, and those who don’t get enough nutrients throughout the day could experience a wide variety of health issues. Ongoing malnutrition can result in lethargy, irritability, tooth loss, organ failure, and many other serious medical issues. If your aging loved one isn’t eating enough, it’s time to come up with a long-term plan to help him or her get the necessary vitamins and minerals.
Rethink the Dishes and Cutlery
Many caregivers don’t realize the size and shape of bowls and plates can impact an individual’s appetite. In one study conducted by researchers from the University of Boston, seniors who ate from red plates consumed 25 percent more food than those who ate from white plates. Every senior with Alzheimer’s is slightly different, and you might want to try a few different colors and styles to see which type of tableware your loved one prefers.
Create a Relaxing Environment
Seniors with Alzheimer’s are easily distracted, and your loved one might not be eating simply because there’s too much going on around him or her. The room where your loved one eats should be relatively quiet and as clutter free as possible. You should also make sure there aren’t any decorations or trinkets on the table.
A trained Alzheimer’s caregiver can provide expertise and additional support to encourage your loved one to eat. Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same type of in-home care. Fort Myers families can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide individualized care plans to meet your elderly loved one’s unique care needs. Our holistic Balanced Care Method was designed to help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and our Cognitive Therapeutics Method offers mentally stimulating activities that can stave off cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia.
Experiment with Different Colors and Textures
In your caregiving journal, you should keep a list of all of your loved one’s favorite foods, dishes, textures, and ingredients. You’ll also need to write down any foods he or she refuses to eat. With those two lists, it’ll be much easier to come up with meals your loved one enjoys eating.
Lead by Example
As Alzheimer’s progresses, the act of eating can become more difficult. Your loved one will most likely look to you for guidance if he or she finds a certain type of food confusing or can’t figure out a piece of silverware. Eating across the table from your loved one could make mealtimes less confusing and stressful.
Helping an aging loved one get proper nutrition when he or she doesn’t want to eat can be exhausting for family caregivers. If you’re the primary family caregiver for an elderly loved one and need additional assistance providing high-quality senior home care, Home Care Assistance can help. We are a leading home care agency committed to changing the way seniors age.
Avoid Lengthy Conversations While Eating
Making the occasional comment shouldn’t be a problem, but you should avoid long or complicated conversations during mealtimes. That type of dialogue could confuse your loved one and distract him or her from eating. You should also avoid using the phone and any other electronics that might distract your loved one.
Offer More Snacks Throughout the Day
If larger meals are challenging to get through, offer your loved one multiple snacks throughout the day. Having a fruit smoothie or a handful of nuts every hour can keep your loved one full and provide plenty of calories. Many companies also make high-calorie shakes and bars specifically for older adults who aren’t eating enough.
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 manage. If you’re looking for professional Alzheimer’s care, Fort Myers Home Care Assistance provides high-quality care aging adults and their families can count on. All of our hourly and live-in 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. Rely on the professionals at Home Care Assistance to provide high-quality compassionate care for your loved one. Give us a call today at 239.449.4701 to learn about our flexible in-home Alzheimer’s care plans.