People with dementia often experience various problems with eating and drinking. These 13 tips can help your loved ones eat better, feel better, and live a happier life.
1. Make food look and smell appealing. Use different tastes, colors, and smells. The aroma of cooking can stimulate someone’s appetite.
2. Look for opportunities to encourage the person to eat. If they are awake for much of the night, then night-time snacks may be a good idea. Foods such as blueberries, yogurt, and microwaveable veggies like corn are great options.
3. Try not to overload the plate with too much food. Small to regular-sized portions often work best.
4. Try different types of food. For example, switch up your offerings daily. Have a rotating selection of veggies like corn, carrots, and potatoes. Similarly, protein doesn’t always have to be meat. Try tofu, or make scrambled eggs for dinner. Check out this article for 20 Ways to Make Eggs For Dinner.
5. Food tastes may change. Experiment with stronger flavors or sweet foods.
6. Don’t withhold desserts if the person hasn’t eaten their main meal. They may prefer the taste of the dessert. Instead, try a healthy dessert like one of these 15 Easy Healthy Desserts.
7. If food goes cold, it will lose its appeal. It may help to serve half portions to keep food warm, or to use the microwave to reheat food.
8. If the person is having difficulties chewing or swallowing, try a naturally soft food. Try foods like scrambled eggs, soup, oatmeal, yogurt, or mashed potatoes before considering pureed food.
9. Encourage the person to get involved at mealtimes. They could help prepare the food or lay the table. Feeling productive and helpful is a great way to stimulate appetite and boost their mood.
10. Positive encouragement and gentle reminders to eat, and of what the food is, may help.
11. A relaxed, friendly atmosphere with some soft music is ideal. Let the person eat where they feel comfortable.
12. Use eating and drinking as an opportunity for activity and social stimulation. Mealtime should be fun, not a chore.
13. A noisy environment can be distracting and result in the person not eating enough. Keep the dining area calm and free of distractions like TVs and radios.
Lastly, don’t forget to protect the person from spills and accidents. Use NEATsheets™ disposable clothing protectors to keep them clean and help them feel dignified. Many seniors dislike wearing classic clothing protectors, so NEATsheets™, which look like napkins, can be a great alternative. Get them here.
For additional information, please visit https://www.alz.org/care/alzheimers-food-eating.asp#mealtimes