Alzheimer’s disease changes so much about your senior’s life. One change you might not expect is how much Alzheimer’s can affect your senior’s ability and desire to eat.
Give Her More Time to Eat
Sometimes it’s not what your senior is eating, but whether she feels rushed while she’s eating. Feeling as if she doesn’t have time to eat can completely kill your senior’s appetite, just like it can for most people. Do what you can to make sure that your senior always has plenty of time to eat anything from meals to snacks. When she trusts that she’ll have enough time, you might be surprised to find she eats a little more.
Keep Meals Happy and Calm
When meals are as calm and as pleasant as possible, that’s another factor that can help to improve your senior’s appetite. Make sure that excess noise, like televisions or loud family members, are kept to a minimum while your senior is trying to eat. This can really help her to concentrate on the job of enjoying her meal as much as possible without distractions.
Sit with Your Senior While She Eats
Lots of people don’t like to eat alone and that doesn’t change when Alzheimer’s disease becomes a problem. Sitting with your elderly family member as she eats can help her to feel calmer and more comfortable as she eats. You might be surprised how much more relaxed she may feel having you there with her.
Reconsider Full Meals
Something else that’s easy to forget is that your elderly family member’s appetite is changing. She may not be as hungry as she was in the past. Eating a large meal can be incredibly intimidating for her. And if she has difficulty with things like chewing and swallowing, it can take a lot of effort and time for her to eat a full meal. Eating can be exhausting. Smaller meals that you serve more often can help with those issues.
Plan Her Meals to Have as Many Nutrients as Possible
Because it can be so hit and miss to keep your senior eating, it’s a good idea to make sure that she’s getting as many nutrients at each meal or snack as possible. This might mean sneaking some vegetables into a fruit smoothie that she likes or slipping a few extra carrots into your spaghetti sauce. Whatever you can do to add nutrients can be really helpful.
It can be tricky feeling like you’re getting this whole nutritional thing right if your senior has Alzheimer’s disease. Elderly care providers can help you to learn how to feed your senior if she needs that much help or just how to make sure she’s as calm and happy as possible for meals.