9 Ways to Help a Loved One With Alzheimer's During Mealtime
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SPEAKERIf you help care for someone with Alzheimer's, you may notice they're not eating as much as they used to, or they're becoming confused about meal times, or forgetting to eat. Good nutrition is essential, so here's a few ways you can help your loved one eat well and encourage them to enjoy food. Keep the table setting to a minimum so your loved one can focus on the Food. Smaller plates with just a few options will be less likely to overwhelm them.
Keep balanced nutrition in mind, but don't offer too many choices. Plan for extra time during meals. It may take longer for your loved one to eat these days.
Avoid seeming impatient. As abilities change, so can interest in food. Make meal times more of a shared experience by eating with your loved one. Take a few bites if it isn't convenient for you to have your own full meal. Seeing you eat could help stimulate appetite or remind them what to do.
Serve easy and safe to eat foods. Keep food safety and simplicity in mind. Stick to soft foods if chewing or cutting is difficult. If your loved one can't feed themselves, offer one small bite at a time and pace them.
Encourage independence. When possible, let them use serving utensils or put their own napkin on their lap. Offer a straw if that enables them to drink their own liquids. If your loved one doesn't want to eat, try smaller meals through the day, special favorites, and gentle reminders. Keep food simple and satisfying to look at, and model eating behavior to help your loved one get the nutrition they need.
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