Eating can be much more complicated than you’d expect for a loved one who has Alzheimer’s disease. It might even necessitate putting some different systems in place than you might have anticipated.
1.Choices Are Great, as Long as There Aren’t Too Many
Having no or very few choices for your loved one isn’t any good because that’s boring and it might even wind up in some nutritional deficiencies for your loved one. If you go too far the other way, however, and offer your loved one too many choices, that’s also a recipe for disaster. The idea is to offer choices but in a manageable way.
2.Small Portions More Often Might Work Better
Three square meals a day sounds good on paper, but that might not work as well as you’d like for your loved one. Try instead to offer her several smaller meals or healthy snack combinations much more often throughout the day. With smaller serving sizes, your loved one might actually eat more.
3.Dishes and Utensils Matter
Your loved one may be dealing with much more than just Alzheimer’s disease. That can mean that some of the utensils, dishes, and other eating implements she’s used throughout her life just don’t work as well for her anymore. Try looking for utensils and kitchen items that help to meet all of her needs.
4.Push Water Throughout the Day
Hydration is so important for everyone, but it’s especially important if your loved one has Alzheimer’s disease. She’s not as likely to remember to drink or remember when she last drank, so reminders are important. Verbal reminders can work, as can visual reminders such as a water bottle with hand-drawn lines indicating when she should drink down to a certain point. Rubber bands on the water bottle can work the same way.
5.Routines Are Your Friend
Whatever else you attempt, getting a solid routine in place for meals and for eating is essential. Your loved one will feel more comfortable and supported with a steady routine in place. She knows that she can rely on meals happening at a certain time and having a specific setup.
If you’re having a difficult time staying on top of everything involved in helping your loved one find the right system for handling meals on your own, consider hiring senior care providers. They can help you land on the right combination for your loved one.