5 Effective Tips to Help Aging Adults with Dementia Eat Better

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The symptoms of dementia can make eating and other daily activities challenging for the elderly. While seniors in general experience diminished appetites, dementia can also lead seniors to forget to eat or to develop feelings of paranoia about their food and the caregivers serving it. If your elderly loved one has dementia, you can encourage him or her to eat more with the following five strategies.

1. Serve Familiar Foods

When preparing food for your loved one, keep his or her food preferences in mind and avoid experimenting. If your loved one has previously enjoyed a particular dish, make the same dish the same way on a regular basis. While your loved one may develop new preferences over time or may not remember he or she likes a particular food, seniors are typically able to recognize and enjoy foods they’ve liked previously. 

A trained dementia caregiver can provide expertise and additional support to encourage your loved one to eat. Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same type of home care. You can rely on Lifestar Home Care to provide an individualized care plan to meet your elderly loved one’s unique care needs. Our caregivers help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits, such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and we offer mentally stimulating activities that can boost cognitive health and delay the progression of dementia.

2. Encourage Independence

Dementia can sometimes cause seniors to forget basic eating skills. Reteach your loved one how to use utensils if he or she is finding it challenging, and don’t worry about spills or messes at the table. This encourages your loved one to maintain independence and allows him or her to eat at his or her own pace. To further encourage independence, consider using spill-proof cups and spill-resistant plates to prevent messes that may discourage your loved one. 

3. Serve Easy-to-Eat Foods

Bite-sized or finger foods may be preferable to complicated foods, such as shellfish, or foods that require utensils. Try serving steamed broccoli florets, chicken nuggets, or other foods that can be eaten by hand. 

In addition to serving foods that are easy to eat, keep communication clear and direct. When asking your loved one if he or she would like something to drink, primarily use yes or no questions, such as asking if he or she would like more milk rather than asking what he or she wants to drink. 

Helping your loved one get proper nutrition when he or she doesn’t want to eat can be exhausting. If you have a senior loved one who needs help maintaining a high quality of life while aging in place, reach out to Lifestar Home Care, a leading provider of home care Oklahoma City families can trust. Our caregivers help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and we offer mentally stimulating activities that can boost cognitive health and delay the progression of dementia. 

4. Make Meals Social Events

If possible, eat meals with your loved one at the same time each day. Meals that are consumed with family members have been shown to encourage good eating habits among those with dementia. Maintain a positive atmosphere during mealtimes by discussing enjoyable ideas and events. 

5. Serve Small & Frequent Meals

Aging can lead to a diminished appetite, so if your loved one isn’t eating much at mealtimes, serving smaller meals at regular intervals throughout the day may help. Offer a wide variety of foods, such as fresh fruits, lean proteins, and steamed vegetables, to ensure your loved one consumes a balanced diet. 

Professional caregivers with specialized experience in dementia care can be a wonderful source of support for older adults with the disease. Aging in place can present a few challenges for seniors living with dementia. However, they can still live independently at home with the help of professional dementia care. Oklahoma City families can rely on Lifestar Home Care to provide their elderly loved ones with mental and social stimulation, timely medication reminders, assistance with meal prep, and much more. Our caregivers are available around the clock to help your loved one live a happier and healthier life. Reach out to us at Lifestar Home Care if you need compassionate professional care for your loved one. Call one of our friendly Care Managers today.

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