Meal Tips for Alzheimer & Dementia Patients

elderly_woman_cooking_grandaughter

It’s hard enough sometimes trying to figure out dinner plans for a family of four, let along getting everyone to sit down to enjoy it. How about when your family includes someone who with Alzheimer’s or Dementia? It’s not always easy for someone suffering from this disease to enjoy meal time, especially with symptoms of confusion, forgetfulness and even not being aware of temperatures. We’ve found that there are some tips that can help make any mealtime easier, and make it much more rewarding for your family.

  • Limit Distractions – Make sure that meals are serviced in a quiet area, away from noises which may be distracting. You want to make sure that your loved one is focusing on their meal, and not what’s on TV.
  • Flexible Food Choices – With changes happening in the brain, it may not be uncommon for your loved one to have a new food preference, or dislike something that they’ve enjoyed in the past. If they’ve always had a favorite meal or type of food, keep that in mind when preparing a meal.
  • Simple Table – When you’re setting the table for your loved one, make sure it has ONLY the necessary tools needed for their meal. Having décor such as plastic fruit might distract or confuse the person. Avoid placing any type of these items on the table.
  • Give Them Time – It might take longer for your loved one to finish their meal than usual. You may have to remind them to chew their food and drink water between bites. Give meals times longer than needed, and please be patient.
  • Distinguish Food – When someone is suffering from Alzheimer’s or Dementia, sometimes they could have visual changes as well. It’s important to make sure that your loved one can distinguish the food that they’re eating. For example, you should put the food on a plain colored plate, and avoid any types of patterns or multicolored. Keeping the color contrast simple with the placemat, tablecloth, and plate will make it much easier for your loved one to focus and enjoy their food.
  • Eat Together – People who eat alone tend to have a harder time finishing their meals. Research has shown that people eat better when they are with the company of others. So, make sure that meal time is a social event so everyone can enjoy the experience together.
  • Check Temperatures – Your loved one might not be able to tell if their food is too hot or too cold. Always try to test the food before serving it to your loved one.
  • Forgetting To Eat – Sometimes your loved one might forget or get confused when they last ate. They might think they need to eat Breakfast when it could be late afternoon. To help fix the situation, consider serving breakfast foods to your loved one, such as cereal or toast.
  • Having a loved one who is going through Alzheimer’s and Dementia is not easy for a family to always help. Consider bringing in a caregiver who has the necessary training and focus, to make sure your loved one is eating properly and getting the adequate about of nutrition.

For more information about hiring a caregiver for meals and more, please contact us at alzdementiacare@gmail.com.