Family caregivers worry about our senior loved ones getting enough to eat to maintain their strength and health but when Alzheimer’s disease begins to progress, getting them to eat becomes a struggle.
As seniors’ dementia progresses, they may resist eating, forget they have not yet eaten, or forget how to eat.
When helping a senior loved one eat more becomes one of the family caregivers’ roles, there are a number of ways to approach the situation.
Adjustments to Encourage Eating
Here are some tips for caregivers trying to help seniors eat more.
- Make the dining atmosphere calm. Restrict distractions, loud noises, or scary TV news. Seat the person with their back to a window or room so that won’t look around or lose their focus.
- Eat with them. When the person feels alone it inhibits their intake. Let them observe your role modeling, they usually eat more.
- Use brightly colored plates to stimulate their appetite but not colorful, patterned placemats and tablecloths that can be a distraction. Familiar food smells can also increase appetite through memory.
- Don’t overwhelm them with too much food. Place a small amount of different foods in small bowls to keep them focused on their food. Finger foods also work well when utensils become confusing.
- Give frequent small meals especially if they can’t sit for long enough periods of time so that they will get more to eat by the end of day. Also offer finger foods throughout the day if they are pacing so they can replenish the spent calories they used in wandering.
There are many more things you can do to help them eat more, so keep trying new things until you find some strategies that work for you both.
Here are a few articles with more information to help improve your senior’s nutrition: