Maintaining a healthy diet becomes increasingly important with age, but some seniors develop health conditions that make managing this task more challenging. Seniors with dementia may experience changes in their eating habits for a variety of reasons. However, many of these symptoms can be managed with the right approach. If your elderly loved one has dementia, Henderson in-home care experts have a few tips to help him or her eat healthier.
Stimulate the Appetite and Maintain Dental Hygiene
Proper nutrition is important for seniors receiving Henderson dementia care, but it can be difficult to get them to eat the right foods. Simple exercise like walking or gardening can help your loved one regain his or her appetite. Your loved one may have stopped eating because he or she has trouble identifying foods or has oral discomfort, and the dementia may have made it more difficult for him or her to express this. To combat this, serve foods your loved one is familiar with and take him or her in for regular dental checkups. Also, make sure all the food you serve is at a comfortable temperature.
Serve meals with as little unnecessary ornamentation as possible so your loved one will not be confused or distracted. Avoid elaborate table decorations and make sure not to serve too many foods at once. Limiting distractions like television may help keep your loved one focused on the meal, and it can also be helpful to make eating a social event because many people tend to eat better if they have company.
Work with the Limitations of the Illness
As the dementia progresses, your loved one may have a harder time using utensils and dishes. Serve foods in bowls instead of on plates, and provide large-handled spoons and forks if he or she has difficulty using traditional sizes. Finger foods are also a great option, and they’re not just limited to chicken nuggets or fish sticks. Healthy options like steamed broccoli, carrots, and fruit pieces can all easily be eaten by hand.
Use Memory in Productive Ways
Many people with dementia begin to forget when they ate or what time of day it is. If your loved one always forgets having eaten breakfast and refuses to eat lunch or dinner during what he or she feels is the “wrong” time of day, don’t put up a fight. Instead, try serving your loved one a different breakfast food at each meal. Make sure to vary the options each time to make sure he or she is receiving balanced nutrition.
Accomplishing tasks like cooking and grocery shopping can be difficult for seniors with dementia. At Home Care Assistance, our caregivers can help your loved one with these and many other tasks that become challenging in the wake of a dementia diagnosis. In addition to dementia care, we also offer comprehensive Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and post-stroke home care Henderson families trust. For more information on our elderly care services, call one of our experienced Care Managers at (702) 527-7723 to schedule a complimentary consultation.