Malnutrition is one of the most common symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. Seniors who have this progressive disorder often lose interest in eating, which makes it difficult for them to consume enough nutrients throughout the day. Older adults who lose their appetites might also develop secondary health complications such as poor immune function and chronic fatigue. The following strategies can help your loved one prevent malnutrition by eating healthier meals and larger portions.
Seniors with Alzheimer’s often have a difficult time finishing their meals. Eating meals together could reduce your loved one’s anxiety so he or she can focus on the food. As a caregiver, try to start pleasant and simple conversations to see if they positively impact your loved one’s eating habits. Simply sitting at the table together might change your loved one’s demeanor and increase his or her appetite.
Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s can be challenging for family caregivers. Families who need help caring for a senior loved one can turn to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of Oakville, ON, home care. Services available in our customizable care plans include meal prep, mental and social stimulation, assistance with personal hygiene tasks, and much more.
Keep Meals Simple
Anything that distracts your loved one during a meal could have an impact on how much he or she eats. This is why it is always a good idea to make sure the area where you are eating is quiet and away from the television. You can also remove distractions from the table such as extra utensils, bright placemats, and decorative items. Even the meal itself should be as simple as possible with no garnishes or unusual toppings. Diabetes Canada suggests having no more than one or two entrées for each meal.
Even seniors who don’t have Alzheimer’s often become picky eaters, which can result in dietary issues. If your loved one refuses to eat anything other than his or her favorite foods, let him or her choose between a few healthy options. Instead of simply forcing your loved one to eat a salad, ask if he or she would like to have a wedge salad or a chopped salad. Seniors who feel like they have at least some control over their diets tend to eat more food.
Consider hiring a professional caregiver if your loved one needs assistance with cooking, eating, or other daily tasks. If your senior loved one needs hourly or live-in care, Oakville Home Care Assistance can help. Our caregivers can assist with exercise and mobility, prepare nutritious meals, provide timely medication reminders, and help with a wide array of other important daily tasks.
Try Smaller Meals and Snacks
Another tactic you might want to try is serving smaller meals and snacks throughout the day. Eating a large meal at each sitting can be overwhelming, and your loved one might lose his or her appetite entirely if too much food is on the plate. Caregivers need to try smaller portion sizes and serve them at different times of the day to see when their loved ones are the hungriest.
Supplement with Shakes
Seniors who have difficulty eating solid foods might benefit from having one or two shakes each day. Many supplement companies make nutrient-dense shakes that have various macronutrients people need. They also come in rich and tasty flavors like chocolate, banana, mint, and strawberry. When choosing a shake, make sure it isn’t filled with sugar and other processed ingredients.
Seniors with Alzheimer’s and their family caregivers can benefit from professional in-home care. Oakville respite care professionals can assist seniors with a wide array of daily tasks, offering family caregivers the chance to focus on other personal responsibilities or take a break to prevent burnout. Whether it’s for a few hours a day or a few days a week, respite care is the perfect solution for family caregivers who are feeling overwhelmed. Call Home Care Assistance at (905) 337-1200 and let one of our professional caregivers help your elderly loved one with daily activities.