Dementia is often thought of as a disease of the mind, but it can also have significant effects on the entire body. As the disease progresses, seniors often experience changes in their appetite that can affect their health. The staff at Home Care Assistance discusses 4 of these common changes and offer tips on how to help your elderly loved one maintain a healthy diet while managing these symptoms.
1. Diminished Sense of Taste
A person’s taste buds naturally diminish as a normal result of aging. However, changes in the brain due to dementia can impact sense of taste even more significantly. As a result, seniors with dementia may refuse certain foods. If your loved one’s sense of taste has decreased, try using fresh herbs as a healthy seasoning alternative.
2. Intense Cravings
A diminished sense of taste can also lead to intense cravings for overly salty or sugary foods. Researchers have found there is a part of the brain that produces insulin just like the pancreas. If this section of your loved one’s brain is damaged, he or she may crave sugar and be placed at greater risk for developing diabetes.
3. Lack of Self-Restraint
Dementia can also destroy the part of the brain that helps people restrain undesirable behaviors. This physical change combined with a craving for sweets can cause your loved one to overeat. Henderson caregivers should be alert for signs of overeating, such as weight gain or changes in blood sugar levels, and implement strategies to encourage self-restraint during meals.
4. Loss of Appetite
In the later stages of dementia, your loved one may lose interest in eating completely, placing him or her at risk for malnutrition. When providing Henderson, NV, dementia care for your loved one, it is important to understand he or she may forget to eat, which means mealtime needs to be made a regular part of his or her daily routine. Sharing meals together, making food easier to eat, and planning a varied diet can all help stimulate your loved one’s appetite.
As dementia progresses, your loved one may need additional help maintaining healthy eating habits. The dedicated caregivers at Henderson Home Care Assistance can help by preparing nutritious meals and taking care of the grocery shopping, and they can also assist with many other important daily tasks. For more information on the in-home senior care Henderson families trust, call one of our qualified Care Managers at (702) 527-7723 to schedule a no-obligation consultation.