Alzheimer’s is one of the most common types of dementia, and its progression can disrupt the daily lives of seniors and their caregivers. Getting seniors with Alzheimer’s disease to eat can be challenging because of swallowing difficulties, behavioral problems, and cognitive decline. As a family caregiver, you can use the following tips to encourage a loved one with Alzheimer’s to eat.
1. Remove Distractions
Eating in a calm atmosphere could prevent your parent from getting upset at mealtimes. Your loved one can concentrate on the meals instead of focusing on noises coming into the dining room from the television, radio, or various outdoor distractions. In addition to eliminating background noises, you should maintain a healthy eating routine, which includes regular dining times. The familiarity could reduce tension and make mealtimes less stressful.
Professional caregivers with specialized experience in Alzheimer’s care can be a wonderful source of support for older adults with the disease. Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same type of at-home care. Clearwater 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. Be Patient
Rushing your loved one could cause him or her to stop eating. Alzheimer’s can reduce processing and response times, prompting your loved one to take a little longer to eat. The disease can also lead to swallowing problems or increase the fear of choking. To ease the situation, allow your loved one to eat at his or her own pace. Don’t get frustrated, because he or she could mimic your emotions. Set aside more time when it comes to eating, making sure your loved one can take as long as necessary to complete meals.
3. Address Changes in Choice of Foods
As Alzheimer’s disease progresses, your loved one’s eating preferences may begin to change. The challenge of recognizing foods could be one of the reasons your loved one has changed his or her choices. For example, if your loved one confuses chicken with turkey breast, he or she may no longer ask for chicken, so you’ll need to prepare more dishes that use turkey instead. Ask your loved one what he or she would like to add to the meal plan. Asking for his or her input may also reduce the reluctance to eat.
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 home care services, Home Care Assistance can help. We are a leading home care agency committed to changing the way seniors age.
4. Look for the Clues
Communicating with family caregivers may be difficult for older adults with Alzheimer’s. The disease can cause cognitive decline and prevent them from thinking logically. If this is the case with your loved one, he or she may use negative behaviors as a form of communication. For instance, if the food is too hot, your loved one might spit it out. When your loved one refuses to eat, ask what’s wrong and try to find a solution. Always be respectful, and refrain from raising your voice. The objective is to find out why your loved one doesn’t want to eat and look for an acceptable compromise.
5. Encourage Physical Activity
Failing to get enough exercise throughout the week could lead to a decreased appetite. Some of the physical activities your parent can do to increase his or her appetite include walking, gardening, dancing, and washing dishes. Getting exercise can strengthen the prefrontal cortex and make mealtimes less intimidating.
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, Clearwater 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 (727) 330-7862 today.