Healthy eating can be a challenge for all seniors, but for those with Alzheimer’s disease, it can be particularly problematic. Everything from becoming overwhelmed by food choices to forgetting to eat can lead to malnutrition for those with Alzheimer’s, which in turn can exacerbate symptoms. Here are some ways to make healthy eating a little easier for those living with Alzheimer’s disease.
Serve Balanced Meals
It is normal for seniors to experience loss of appetite, but it can be even more pronounced in people with Alzheimer’s disease. That is why it is so important to make every calorie count. Serve meals that contain protein, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables and that are low in salt, saturated fats, salt, and refined sugars. Be sure to boost hydration by offering plenty of water throughout the day.
With middle- and late-stage Alzheimer’s, mealtimes can be overwhelming. You can overcome this by simplifying how you serve meals. Instead of plating all of the food at once, serve items one at a time, such as serving chicken followed by a potato. Resist decorating the table with flowers or other items than can be distracting, and counteract visual and spatial difficulties by using plates in colors than contrast with the table. Only provide the utensils needed for the meal you are serving to avoid confusion and allow plenty of time for the meal to be finished.
Address Eating Challenges
Clear any obstacles that interfere with a person with Alzheimer’s ability to eat. For instance, get poor-fitting dentures replaced and talk to the person’s doctor about changing medications that interfere with appetite. Sometimes, helping a person with Alzheimer’s get more physical activity can also help encourage healthy eating.
At Avalon Memory Care, our mealtimes are designed with our residents with Alzheimer’s disease in mind. It is just one more way our assisted living locations in Dallas and Fort Worth create a home-like environment for your loved one who is living with Alzheimer’s. Find out more about the care we provide by calling (214) 752-7050.