Mealtimes can be challenging for seniors with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers. As cognitive abilities decrease, your aging loved one’s interest in food may diminish. Fortunately, there are effective ways to convince seniors with Alzheimer’s to eat their meals.
Make Food Look Attractive
People with Alzheimer’s are often positively stimulated by varied colors and shapes. When food is aesthetically pleasing to those with Alzheimer’s, they’re more likely to take an interest in it. Use colorful foods such as red and green peppers, purple cabbage, yellow squash, and tri-colored pasta to entice your loved one to eat. Colorful meals that are abundant in fresh vegetables, fruits, and grains are both appealing and nutritious. Cut the foods into different shapes to further spark interest at mealtimes.
A trained Alzheimer’s 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 service. Toronto families can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide individualized care plans to meet your elderly loved one’s unique care needs. Our holistic Balanced Care Method was designed to help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and our Cognitive Therapeutics Method offers mentally stimulating activities that can stave off cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia.
Evoke Pleasant Memories with Aromas
Enticing smells can stimulate the appetite. The aroma of freshly baked bread, a simmering pot roast, or baked cinnamon apples may evoke pleasant memories of days gone by. The pleasant scents may remind your loved one of sharing meals with beloved family members and friends. To further enhance the dining experience, invite friends and family over for a meal, and if your loved one is able, ask him or her to participate in meal planning and preparation. Your parent may feel proud to be involved in the process of creating and sharing delicious food with loved ones, which may motivate him or her to eat.
Use Flavor Enhancers
As people age, their perception of taste may change. They may perceive certain foods as bland, bitter, too sweet, or overly salty. Unusual taste sensations diminish the appetite, so using flavor enhancers may make food more palatable for a senior with Alzheimer’s. Fresh herbs such as dill, parsley, and basil can brighten up food flavors, while freshly squeezed lemon juice can stimulate the taste buds. Lemon juice can also stimulate the salivary glands to produce more saliva, which facilitates chewing and swallowing. In addition to enhancing flavors, make sure the foods are the right consistency. Aging adults with Alzheimer’s disease may prefer softer foods, so before serving them, consider pureeing them in a food processor or blender.
Helping aging adults get proper nutrition when they don’t want to eat can be exhausting. If you’re the primary family caregiver for an elderly loved one and need additional assistance providing high-quality elderly home care, Home Care Assistance can help. We are a leading home care agency committed to changing the way seniors age.
Monitor for Chewing and Swallowing Difficulties
Your loved one may lose interest in eating as a result of poor dentition. Neurological problems can also lead to difficulties with swallowing, and your loved one may be afraid to eat as a result. If your loved one has difficulty chewing, make an appointment with a dentist for a checkup. Your loved one may be unable to tell you he or she is experiencing dental pain or is having problems with ill-fitting dentures. If swallowing problems are evident, see a physician, who may refer your loved one to a neurologist or a speech pathologist for a swallowing evaluation.
Professional caregivers with specialized experience in Alzheimer’s care can be a wonderful source of support for older adults with the disease. Without the right assistance, Alzheimer’s can be challenging for seniors and their families to manage. If you’re looking for professional Alzheimer’s care, Toronto Home Care Assistance provides high-quality care aging adults and their families can count on. All of our hourly and live-in caregivers are trained to help seniors with Alzheimer’s live happier and healthier lives, and we also provide specialized dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care. If you need professional care for your senior loved one, Home Care Assistance is just a phone call away. Reach out to one of our Care Managers today at (416) 488-8777.