Caring for elderly patients can be challenging, especially when they are affected by Alzheimer’s disease. This common form of dementia often causes the loss of appetite and, subsequently, unintended weight loss. Significant weight loss can bring its own health complications. If you’re having trouble coaxing your loved one to eat regularly, an in-home caregiver in Memphis may be able to help.
Reduce mealtime distractions.
Sometimes, people with Alzheimer’s have trouble during mealtimes because the environment is too cluttered or noisy, or because they cannot multitask well. Turn off the TV and radio at mealtimes, and clear the table of clutter. If these steps aren’t sufficient to convince the individual to eat, try serving just one or two types of food at a time.
Keep your loved one company during meals.
People are social creatures and often prefer to eat in the company of others. If it isn’t possible for you to sit with your loved one during each meal, it may be time to hire an elder care provider to give your loved one the companionship and practical care he or she needs. When you are able to dine with your loved one, make eye contact and convey positivity with your facial expressions. Your loved one may be more likely to eat if you are eating, too. Some individuals may do better with quiet, pleasant conversation, while others are too distracted by talking.
Make eating as easy as possible.
As Alzheimer’s disease progresses, managing eating utensils becomes more difficult. An elder care provider can prepare meals that work well as finger foods. Instead of salad, serve crudité. Instead of grilled chicken breast, serve chicken strips.
Serve smaller meals and snacks frequently.
It’s not always practical to expect a person with Alzheimer’s to eat a large meal. It’s often more feasible to gently coax him or her to eat small snacks between meals. Try serving nutritional supplement drinks or soft foods, such as eggs, pudding, or smoothies.
Prepare your loved one’s favorite foods.
Nutritious, well-balanced meals are important, but sometimes, it’s better to choose your battles wisely. Preparing your loved one’s favorite meals, even if they aren’t particularly healthy, can help stimulate his or her appetite.