6 Strategies for Motivating an Aging Adult with Alzheimer’s to Eat

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Individuals with Alzheimer’s often have difficulty eating. When a senior has Alzheimer’s, challenges with eating can stem from medications, ill-fitting dentures, missing teeth, and swallowing difficulties. If your aging loved one has Alzheimer’s, check out these six tips for encouraging him or her to eat.

1. Develop a Mealtime Routine

Regular mealtimes and related activities can be helpful for seniors with Alzheimer’s. One strategy you can use to help your loved one is to offer meals at times when he or she is accustomed to eating. Also, serve meals in a familiar environment. Serving meals around the same time every day can be reassuring for seniors with Alzheimer’s. Mealtimes can also present opportunities for enjoying conversations, which can make eating a pleasant experience.

A trained Alzheimer’s caregiver can provide expertise and additional support to encourage your loved one to eat. Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same type of in-home care. Woodbridge 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. Offer Small Servings

A full plate of food can seem like too much to a senior with Alzheimer’s. Serve food in small amounts so it doesn’t overwhelm your loved one. Bite-sized pieces of meat and small servings of soft foods that are easy to swallow are good choices. Smaller meals offered throughout the day may also be a solution for seniors who eat and then ask, “When do we eat?” just a few minutes later. Avoid serving foods such as popcorn, nuts, and other hard-to-chew foods, because they can be choking hazards.

3. Help Your Loved One Stay Hydrated

Dehydration, coupled with Alzheimer’s, can lead to becoming more confused or disoriented. In addition to water and other fluids, smoothies and soft fruit are excellent choices, since they’re nutritious and have high water content.

Helping your loved one get 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 elderly home care, Home Care Assistance can help. We are a leading home care agency committed to changing the way seniors age.

4. Be Patient

Expect mealtimes to take longer when your loved one has Alzheimer’s. A senior who may have consumed meals quickly before developing the condition might need an hour or more to finish a meal. Rushing your loved one could cause him or her to respond with resistance and frustration. Create a relaxed dining experience by allowing your loved one to consume food at a comfortable pace. Offer patient assistance, such as helping your loved one grasp a fork.

5. Provide Gentle Reminders

A senior with Alzheimer’s may forget to chew food adequately, which can lead to choking. Remind your loved one to chew food thoroughly before swallowing it. Thorough chewing can help your loved one enjoy the food and make it easier to swallow.

6. Take Note of Your Loved One’s Food Preferences

Most likely, your loved one has some favorite foods. For example, he or she may prefer spicy foods. If you discover a dish your loved one is fond of, it’s fine to offer it a few times a week. The key is to ensure he or she is getting healthy and nutritious foods that taste good. Eating a variety of nutrient-dense foods can help seniors with Alzheimer’s fight infections and illness.

Professional caregivers with specialized experience in Alzheimer’s care can be a wonderful source of support for older adults with the disease. 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, Woodbridge 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 schedule a free in-home consultation, give us a call at (203) 444-8575 today.