Those with Alzheimer’s disease may find it challenging to meet their dietary needs. They may no longer remember to have their meals on time, falsely believe that they’ve eaten, forget to eat altogether, or face decision paralysis when presented with too many food options. Ensuring that your loved ones continue to eat regular and nutritional meals is vital, so here are some tips for healthy eating for Alzheimer’s disease patients.
Maintaining a Healthy Diet for Your Loved Ones
Proper nutrition is essential for all age ranges, at all stages of life, as it keeps the body healthy and strong. For someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia, insufficient nutrition can worsen behavioral symptoms, resulting in weight loss. Following basic nutritional guidelines can help boost your loved one’s health. The key principles that should be followed include: Eating a balanced range of foods and limiting foods with high saturated fat content and refined sugars. So, it is recommended to consume a good balance of fruits, whole grains, dairy products low in fat, vegetables, and lean protein. Instead of refined sugars, opt for healthier choices like fruit and juice-sweetened dishes. It is important to take note that your loved ones may experience loss of appetite due to Alzheimer’s, so in some cases, adding sugar to food is encouraged to improve their desire to eat.
Keep Mealtimes Familiar and Comfortable
Eating, though routine for many, can quickly become a difficult task for your loved ones with the onset of Alzheimer’s. Having too many choices may prove to be daunting, distractions during mealtimes can prevent them from finishing their meals, and changes to smell, taste, and prevention can result in your loved ones no longer liking the foods they once loved. Adapt to your loved one’s changing needs by limiting distractions in mealtime environments. Switch off the television during designated mealtimes and keep your surroundings quiet. Another way to make mealtimes more comfortable is to keep table settings simple. Changing dining room decor and removing patterned tablecloths, plates or mats can make things clearer for your loved ones. Removing cutlery that is not needed during their meals can also reduce confusion. Simplify the decision-making processes your loved ones have to make by offering them one item of food at a time. For example, you could separate your greens from the main dish of salmon. Lastly, eating with your loved ones at mealtimes could encourage them to eat and improve their enjoyment of the food.
Let Your Loved Ones Take Charge
Though it may seem counter-intuitive, letting your loved one eat as independently as possible is important. It allows them to practice and maintain their daily competencies. When needed, you should still remain at their side to be ready to help. It’s easier for your loved ones to have their own meals if they eat bite-sized foods, or if the meal comes in the form of a sandwich. Adapting cutlery and serving dishes can also make eating easier for your loved ones.
Our Sensations Dining Program
Our wide variety of menus ensures that your loved ones enjoy tasty and nutritious food that caters to their preferences. If your loved ones require a little extra assistance during mealtimes, don’t fret! The dedicated team members of our assisted living community are happy to help.