Loss of appetite commonly accompanies Alzheimer’s and dementia. Adding to this issue is the fact that as mental and physical function decline, basic skills, such as using a fork or spoon and even drinking from a cup, can also be lost. Ensuring that your loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia gets adequate nutrition requires thought and ingenuity.
If food intake is a problem, try the following 10 tips to ensure that every bite counts:
- Jettison the junk. As much as possible cut out processed foods and empty-calorie junk foods. If someone is having trouble eating, it is especially important that everything they do eat is healthy.
- Boost the nutrients. Load up food with extra nutrients, such as protein powder and puréed vegetables. These can often be added to recipes without a noticeable change in taste.
- First things first. Make sure that you serve the most nutritious food first. Someone with dementia can lose interest in the middle of a meal.
- Make it easy. People with dementia often knock food off their plates. You can avoid this issue with special plates and utensils designed specifically to help people with dementia manage eating.
- Keep it small. If your loved one is having trouble using cutlery, serve finger foods, such as chicken nuggets and fish sticks.
- Keep it quiet. People with dementia or Alzheimer’s do better in a setting that does not have lots of noise and distractions. Keeping it quiet may even include limiting conversation during meals. It definitely includes turning off all electronics.
- Keep it simple. Avoiding distractions can even mean using a plain plate rather than a patterned one. A patterned plate can make it hard for person with dementia to identify what part of the plate is the food. The same goes for tablecloths.
- Keep them company. Sit with your loved one and, even better, eat with them. Modeling eating will cue them to eat as well.
- Take your time. Allowing extra time for meals will prevent frustration, both for you and your loved one.
- Be understanding. The nature of Alzheimer’s and dementia is that there will be better days and worse days. Don’t let their difficult day ruin yours.
While these tips will help you maximize your loved one’s ability to eat properly, you should always watch for weight loss. Nutritionists and dietitians that specialize in helping older people eat, such as the staff at Laurel Bay Health and Rehabilitation Center, in Keansburg, NJ, can help you take care of your loved one if eating becomes a serious problem.
our residents receive the highest quality rehabilitative and skilled nursing care in a homelike and compassionate environment conducive to healing.
Our family-owned and -operated 123-bed facility, is tucked away in the quiet beach town of Keansburg, NJ at the Jersey Shore, within sight of Sandy Hook and the New York City skyline.
We offer specialized health services and programs for our residents suffering from Dementia and Alzheimer’s. This includes our sensory programs and activities provided in a secured environment.
Other services include short-term rehab, long-term care, hospice care, and respite care for those times when the caretaker needs to be taken care of.
We proudly provide the following specialty healthcare services: complex medical care management, intravenous (IV) therapy, wound care, enteral feeding, pain management, oxygen therapy, tracheostomy care, a dedicated pulmonary program, hospice care with private suites, a stroke rehab program, respiratory support, eye care, dental care, podiatry care, and psychological consults and counseling.
We pride ourselves on healing the entire patient through a holistic and individualized approach.
Our meticulous care planning helps us ensure that each and every resident receives the best in clinical care, support and unconditional love.
For over 25 years, we have been a staple of health and wellness, serving the members of our community and partnering with our local hospitals like Bayshore Community Hospital in Holmdel, NJ and Riverview Medical Center in Red Bank, NJ.
We provide a tailored program of physical, occupational and speech therapy, as well as all types of specialized care under one roof.
Or better yet, come see for yourself. Contact us to schedule a tour by clicking here or by calling (372) 787-8100.