For those with Alzheimer’s, consuming a healthy diet is important for both the body and the brain. A nutritious diet is positively linked to cognitive functioning, and certain meal plans can slow the progression of the disease. Here’s an example of a healthy meal plan for seniors with Alzheimer’s.
Foods Consistent with Chewing & Swallowing Abilities
If your senior loved one is unable to chew or swallow the healthy foods you’ve prepared, he or she won’t reap any benefits from them. Alzheimer’s disease can impair neurological function, and as the disease progresses, seniors may be unable to effectively chew or swallow. Make sure the foods you offer are consistent with your loved one’s ability to eat them safely. If chewing and swallowing problems are noticed, offer soft or pureed foods that are easy to chew and won’t pose a choking hazard. If you need help determining which foods are safe and healthy, ask your loved one’s physician, who may refer your loved one to a speech therapist for further evaluation.
If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of senior care Portland, ME, families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.
Foods Found in Mediterranean Diet
Meal plans containing foods found in the Mediterranean diet—such as fresh vegetables, fruits, lean protein, and healthy fats—may slow the progression of Alzheimer’s while enhancing brain health. The Mediterranean diet is also low in red meat, refined sugar, and saturated fats, which are thought to have negative effects on cerebral circulation and brain function. The diet is rich in fresh fatty fish such as salmon and tuna, which are high in omega-3 fatty acids, healthy substances that can stave off Alzheimer’s by enhancing cognitive and neurological functioning.
If you need help planning and preparing healthy meals for your loved one, a professional caregiver can be a great source of support. There are many reasons seniors might need assistance at home. Some may require regular mental stimulation due to an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, while others might only need part-time assistance with exercise and basic household tasks. Home Care Assistance is a leading at-home care provider. Families rely on our expertly trained caregivers to help their senior loved ones maintain a high quality of life.
Appetite loss isn’t uncommon in those with Alzheimer’s. It can be related to disease progression or linked to the portion of the brain that has been most affected by neurological damage. If your loved one eats too little, he or she may be at risk for weight loss and nutritional deficiencies. While it’s important that you provide your loved one with healthy foods, make sure you also serve some of his or her favorite foods from the past. The appearance and smells of favorite foods can evoke pleasant memories, which may stimulate the appetite. If your loved one’s appetite doesn’t get better or he or she is losing weight, talk to his or her physician, who may suggest nutritional shakes or vitamin supplements.
Consuming a high-sodium diet raises blood pressure, and it may also impede blood circulation to the brain. Too much salt can also impair cognitive function and raise the risk of plaque formation and inflammation inside the brain. Limiting your loved one’s salt intake may enhance his or her memory and boost his or her cognitive health. Instead of salt, enhance the flavor of your loved one’s foods with fresh lemon juice and herbs and spices, such as fresh dill, basil, parsley, and heart-healthy turmeric.
The days, weeks, and months following an Alzheimer’s diagnosis can be challenging for both seniors and their families. However, these challenges can be made less stressful with the help of caregivers trained in professional Alzheimer’s care. Portland Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one enjoy the golden years while simultaneously managing the symptoms of Alzheimer’s. To learn about our high-quality in-home care services, give us a call at (207) 835-4849 today.