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5 Tips for Encouraging Older Adults with Alzheimer’s to Eat

Seniors with Alzheimer’s tend to develop aversions to eating and have difficulty chewing and digesting food, so roughly 40 percent of these individuals end up being at an unhealthily low weight. Maintaining proper nutrition while managing Alzheimer’s is essential. Use these strategies to encourage your senior loved one to eat.

1. Cook Familiar Foods

Many caregivers are tempted to create a new, healthy diet for their loved ones, but people with Alzheimer’s often prefer to stick to familiar and comforting food. You may want to consider cooking classic recipes from your loved one’s childhood or other foods you know he or she loves. Though these foods may not be extremely healthy, it is better than not eating at all.

If your loved one is not getting the nutrients he or she needs for leading a healthy lifestyle, consider hiring a caregiver. Maintaining a high quality of life can be challenging for some seniors, but professional caregivers can help them obtain this goal. Families can trust in Altamonte Springs, Florida, home care experts to help their elderly loved ones focus on lifestyle choices that increase the chances of living a longer and healthier life. 

2. Plan Plates Carefully

Use a red or yellow plate because these colors stimulate sensations of hunger. Cut foods into small pieces, and arrange small portions on the plate for your loved one. If your loved one tends to skip eating vegetables or other important foods, put these items near his or her dominant hand. Having to reach over one type of food to get a more preferred food may make your loved one more likely to eat a little of the first food.

3. Be Flexible on Eating Schedules

Eating at regular times can be beneficial for seniors who prefer schedules, but no two seniors with Alzheimer’s are alike. Some may prefer to snack throughout the day instead of sitting down for meals three times a day. Try to be flexible and provide food when requested. It is more important to make sure your loved one has enough nutrition rather than trying to force him or her to eat on a schedule.

4. Make Eating Fun

Some seniors with Alzheimer’s avoid eating because they hate using utensils or do not want to stop whatever activity they are doing. Finger foods like chicken, sandwiches, hamburgers, carrot sticks, and grapes are often an easy way to make mealtimes more enjoyable. You can also try fun music or other games to make eating into a fun activity. However, keep in mind some seniors are easily distracted, so avoid excessive multitasking during meals.

Families who find it difficult to care for their aging loved ones without assistance can benefit greatly from professional respite care. Orlando, FL, family caregivers who need a break from their caregiving duties can turn to Home Care Assistance. Using our proprietary Balanced Care Method, our respite caregivers can encourage your loved one to eat well, exercise regularly, get plenty of mental and social stimulation, and focus on other lifestyle factors that promote longevity.

5. Model Good Eating Habits

A lot of caregivers make the mistake of trying to reason with seniors with Alzheimer’s and convince them they should eat. Actions are more important than words, which means your loved one is more likely to eat when he or she can see you eating as well. Try sitting directly across from your loved one during mealtimes. To encourage him or her to eat with you, eat the food neatly while occasionally mentioning how good it tastes.

Seniors living with Alzheimer’s often need extensive assistance in and outside the home. Performing daily tasks while simultaneously managing the symptoms of a serious illness can be challenging for seniors. The Windermere live-in care experts at Home Care Assistance are available 24/7 to make sure your loved one has the care he or she needs to remain safe and comfortable while aging in place. To learn about our premier senior care plans or to hire a dedicated caregiver for your aging loved one, call us at (407) 232-7155 today.