It’s important for seniors to eat regularly so they get enough calories, protein, carbohydrates, and fat for good health. However, many seniors with Alzheimer’s disease have a difficult time eating, which can lead to fat, muscle, and nutrient loss. Use these tips to encourage your senior loved one to eat.
1. Try Smaller Meals
Appetite diminishes with age, and seeing a full plate of food may seem overwhelming to your loved one. Instead, try giving your loved one five to six small healthy snacks throughout the day. Grapes and cheese, crackers with peanut butter, avocado with scrambled eggs, and vegetables with cottage cheese can help your loved one get the nutrition he or she needs in smaller, more manageable portions.
Professional caregivers with specialized experience in Alzheimer’s care can be a wonderful source of support for older adults with the disease. Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same type of elder care. You can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide an individualized care plan 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.
2. Cook “Comfort” Food
It can be tempting to try a new diet for your loved one with the latest recommended foods for Alzheimer’s. However, trying new foods can be confusing for seniors with the disease. Try serving “comfort” foods your loved one is used to that you know he or she loves. Finding recipes you know your loved one enjoyed as a child or younger adult may encourage him or her to eat more.
Ensuring your loved one gets proper nutrition when he or she doesn’t want to eat can be exhausting. If you’re the primary family caregiver for an elderly loved one and need additional assistance providing high-quality senior care, Portland Home Care Assistance can help. We are a leading home care agency committed to changing the way seniors age.
3. Serve Finger Foods
As Alzheimer’s disease progresses, your loved one may experience difficulty using utensils, which may be embarrassing, and he or she may opt to skip a meal rather than fumble with a fork and knife. Finger foods, such as grapes, baby carrots, cheese cubes, and chicken nuggets, are simple to eat and don’t require utensils. If you do serve a meal that requires utensils, consider cutting up food items beforehand so they’re bite-sized. Your loved one won’t have to fumble with a knife while trying to cut them if the work is already done
4. Prep the Food Together
Cooking together with the aromas of the food in the air may spark your loved one’s appetite and encourage him or her to eat. Specially designed cutting boards and knives can be used to aid in meal prep, and stirring spoons that rest on the pot or on the side can prevent accidents from occurring. Make cooking together an enjoyable experience so mealtime is memorable
5. Be Flexible
It’s a good idea to have a daily food schedule so your loved one knows what to expect each day. Having a schedule can be comforting for seniors with Alzheimer’s, and their bodies can eventually adapt so they’re hungry at certain times of the day. When making a schedule, it’s important to be flexible. Don’t force your loved one to eat three meals a day and a snack if he or she isn’t hungry. Because the ability to feel hunger diminishes with age, keep track of when your loved one does eat. If it’s been too long, try giving your loved one a favorite snack to prevent dangerous drops in blood sugar.
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, Portland 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. Call us at (207) 835-4849 today to talk to one of our compassionate Care Managers about our high-quality home care services.