How to Encourage Aging Adults with Alzheimer's to Eat

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How to Motivate an Older Parent with Alzheimer’s Disease to Eat

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Seniors who have Alzheimer’s are susceptible to malnutrition, which eventually results in major health issues when left untreated. In addition to increasing the risk of several medical issues, malnutrition also impacts cognitive and emotional health. Here are a few simple tips to help a senior loved one with Alzheimer’s get all the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients he or she needs.

Make Snacks Readily Available

Sitting down and eating a large meal once every few hours isn’t always going to be practical, which is why you need to fill your kitchen with healthy snacks. Your loved one might be more likely to eat if you offer simple snacks that don’t require any utensils or tableware. Some of the best snacks for older adults include sliced vegetables, berries, nuts, and hard-boiled eggs.

Create a Relaxing Environment

When there are distractions, it may be difficult for a senior with Alzheimer’s to focus on a single task, which is why you must create a calm and relaxing environment where your loved one can eat in peace. As a general rule, make sure there are no moving shadows, reflective surfaces, or loud noises. If you live in an area that has quite a bit of ambient noise, you might want to invest in a white noise machine or install a white noise app on your phone. 

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 home care Palm Beach 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.

Make Meals Easier to Eat

Over time, everyday items like spoons and forks could begin to confuse your loved one. To make mealtimes easier, you might want to cut up food for your loved one and only place a single utensil on the table. Some seniors with Alzheimer’s also prefer to eat with their hands, which makes finger foods a great option. Eating finger foods is a little messier, but spending a few extra minutes cleaning up will be worth it as long as your loved one is getting plenty to eat. 

Ensuring an aging adult gets proper nutrition when he or she doesn’t want to eat can be exhausting for family caregivers. If you’re the primary family caregiver for an elderly loved one and need additional assistance providing high-quality senior home care, Home Care Assistance can help. We are a leading home care agency committed to changing the way seniors age.

Show How It’s Done

Pleading with your loved one to eat could increase your stress levels and make him or her more agitated. As an alternative, try to lead by example and make the food as appealing as possible. During a meal, sit directly across from your loved one and show him or her exactly how the utensils work. You can also make a few quick comments about how delicious the food is or what you like about each dish.

Don’t Start Conversations

Once the food is out and you’re ready to eat, keep banter to a minimum. Keeping up with a conversation might be difficult for your loved one, and you should make sure he or she remains focused on the food. Occasionally praising the food or asking your loved one a simple question is perfectly fine, but mealtimes should mostly be silent.

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, Palm Beach 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. Trust Home Care Assistance to provide high-quality compassionate, professional Alzheimer’s home care for your loved one. Call one of our friendly Care Managers today at 561.429.8292.