Dinnertime can be a time to relax, eat, drink and enjoy family. When we need bonding and love, we often look to food to bring us together with those we care about the most. But what happens when you watch your loved one living with Alzheimer’s lose their appetite slowly over time?
Sometimes your loved one doesn’t want a thing. Other times they eat everything on their plate. Mealtime is suddenly a chore and your loved one’s eating habits become hard to track. Alzheimer’s caregivers are on the front lines and know firsthand when an Alzheimer’s patient’s appetite begins to go. They see their loved one’s eating habits dwindle, but don’t know what to say or do. If you’ve been in this situation and asked this question hundreds of times in your head and wondered if anyone in Alzheimer’s Caregiver Land is listening, LifeGuides is here to help! Never fear (in my superman voice) these Alzheimer’s Caregiver tips can help make suppertime enjoyable and comfortable again:
Limit Distractions. Have meals in quiet settings without television or other distractions. As this can distract your loved one from the task at hand, which is eating their meal.
Keep Table Settings Simple. Avoid place settings and distracting table cloths. Even avoid decor such as plastic fruit on the table. If possible only have on the table, the necessary utensils for eating (plastic if there is a safety concern). Keep plates simple as well, avoiding plates with patterns or decorations. This will help your loved easily distinguish food.
Test Food Temperature. Alzheimer’s disease makes it hard for your loved one to distinguish between hot and cold food. It’s important you check the temperature before serving any food and make sure it’s safe to be eaten.
Serve One Food One at a Time. Too many foods at the same time can be confusing for your loved one with Alzheimer’s disease. Serve side dishes and main dishes separately. For example, serve chicken first and once it is finished, then serve vegetables separately.
Making sure suppertime is super again is not an easy task. Alzheimer’s disease patients can also suffer from malnutrition which leads to more severe problems. It’s important as an Alzheimer’s caregiver to establish a healthy diet and schedule for your loved one.
LifeGuides knows meal planning for an Alzheimer’s patient can be overwhelming and daunting. Sign up for a guide to help!