For seniors with Alzheimer’s disease, eating and other daily activities can become more challenging. Since seniors with this condition frequently experience a diminished appetite or simply forget to eat, they’re more likely than other seniors to fail to eat enough to get the nutrients their bodies need. To ensure your aging loved one with Alzheimer’s is eating enough food, try the following strategies.
1. Eat Together
Encourage your loved one to eat by providing companionship during meals. When seniors with Alzheimer’s are anxious, they’re less likely to finish their meals, so making conversation about pleasant subjects is typically the easiest way to reduce anxiety. However, be aware that certain seniors with Alzheimer’s have difficulty multitasking and will eat less if you chat at the same time. Experiment a bit to see which strategy works best with your loved one.
Professional caregivers with specialized experience in Alzheimer’s care can be a wonderful source of support for older adults with the disease and their families. Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same type of elder care. Oakville 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.
2. Keep Meals Simple
Don’t overwhelm your loved one with choices at mealtimes, as this can create anxiety and stress. Instead, put only two or three items on your parent’s plate. If your loved one has favorite foods, make sure to include one of those preferred items or dishes at each meal to entice him or her to eat more. However, avoid serving more than one of these favorite items, as having several options at once may lead to indecision and less eating.
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 at-home care, Home Care Assistance can help. We are a leading home care agency committed to changing the way seniors age.
3. Use a Red Plate
The color of your loved one’s plate may play an important part in how receptive he or she is to food. Alzheimer’s creates spatial and vision problems that make white objects difficult to pick up on, especially when they’re served on white plates. Seeing mashed potatoes, cauliflower, or boiled eggs may be difficult for your loved one if they aren’t served on a surface of contrasting color.
Bright red plates have been shown to encourage better eating habits among aging adults with Alzheimer’s. In fact, research shows seniors with dementia or Alzheimer’s will eat about 25 percent more when their food is served on red plates instead of white ones. While 25 percent may not seem like a lot, it can make a big difference in the amount your loved one eats.
4. Serve Small Meals throughout the Day
You may not be able to get your loved one to eat much at each sitting, so try to serve numerous small meals throughout the day. The total amount of calories and nutrients per day is what counts, so serving several small meals and snacks during the day can ensure your loved one gets his or her daily recommended food intake. If your loved one is particularly resistant to eating but is fine with drinking, you may also consider making nutritious shakes for some extra protein and calories.
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, Oakville 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. To hire a dedicated caregiver, call Home Care Assistance at (905) 337-1200 today.