Getting a senior with Alzheimer’s to eat can be a significant challenge for caregivers. As the disease progresses, it not only affects a person’s ability to remember how to eat, but it also affects the senses that make it possible to enjoy the food. The following are techniques caregivers can use to stimulate their loved one’s appetite and encourage them to eat.
1. Use Visual Contrast
Alzheimer’s can affect the way the brain processes visual information. For example, yellow eggs can disappear on a yellow plate so your loved one does not see the food in front of him or her. Placing food on a plate with a contrasting color may make it easier to see. Warm colors such as red and orange tend to attract the eye and stimulate the appetite better than white, neutrals, and cool tones.
Some aging adults need motivation from caregivers to adopt wholesome eating habits and an active lifestyle. If your elderly loved one needs help maintaining a high quality of life while aging in place, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a trusted provider of Galt Ocean Mile home care. Services our caregivers provide include transportation to and from medical appointments and social events, nutritious meal preparation, assistance with daily exercise, and help with everyday tasks like bathing, grooming, and light housekeeping.
2. Model Behavior
Eat with your loved one while sitting directly across from him or her. Engage your loved one with eye contact and a smile before starting to eat to encourage him or her to follow your example. Offer gentle prompts as needed, but try to keep conversation to a minimum since it could distract your loved one from eating.
3. Make Mealtime a Positive Experience
If possible, make your loved one a part of the meal preparation process by having him or her help with tasks he or she can easily manage. Being a part of the process and seeing and smelling the food as it cooks can stimulate your loved one’s appetite. If your loved one only takes a couple of bites or pushes the food around the plate, do not try to argue with him or her. This will only lead to frustration for both of you. The best approach is to try again later.
The symptoms of Alzheimer’s can make eating and other daily activities challenging for seniors. Some seniors only require help with a few daily tasks so they can maintain their independence. However, those living with serious illnesses may need more extensive assistance. Luckily, there is professional live-in care Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, Florida, seniors can rely on. Home can be a safer and more comfortable place for your loved one to live with the help of an expertly trained and dedicated live-in caregiver.
4. Eat Small and Limit Options
Seniors with Alzheimer’s may have difficulty recognizing the various foods on the plate or get distracted before they can finish the meal. Small snacks during the day that only contain a couple of foods are much easier to manage. When asking your loved one what he or she would like to eat, offer a choice between two food items.
5. Make Foods Easy to Eat and Texturally Pleasing
As Alzheimer’s progresses, your loved one may not remember how to use basic utensils. Sandwiches, chicken strips, and other finger foods are often easier for individuals with Alzheimer’s to manage. Adaptive dinnerware, such as partitioned plates with lids and utensils with built up handles, can also increase food intake. Alzheimer’s can also affect how your loved one perceives the texture of food. For example, your loved one may suddenly dislike foods that are soft and mushy, so you may have to adapt meals accordingly.
Aside from cognitive issues, older adults with Alzheimer’s often eat less because they are no longer able to cook healthy meals. If your aging loved one needs occasional help with bathing, grooming, cooking, or other basic household tasks, or if you need time to attend to important personal matters, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of live-in and respite care. Ft. Lauderdale seniors can maintain their independence while living at home with the help of our reliable respite caregivers. To learn about our high-quality senior care plans or to hire a dedicated caregiver for your senior loved one, get in touch with us at (954) 909-0370 today.