Healthy platter of food for increasing appetite in the elderly

Healthy Eating Tips To Overcome Challenges Of Dementia

0 Comment Category: Assisted Living

If your senior loved one is suffering from dementia disorders, you should be concerned about the
nutritional intake of the person. This is because getting proper nutrition is very much important to
maintaining proper health. Also, a deficiency of nutrients can lead to fatigue and other symptoms that
can impact the overall health and well being of your senior loved one. But, people suffering from
dementia disorders can face challenges with eating, such as difficulty swallowing, which can make it
harder for caregivers to ensure proper intake of nutrients.

Dehydration is one of the biggest issues faced by people suffering from dementia disorders. In the
opinion of dementia care experts, people suffering from Alzheimer’s and other dementia disorders
might not be able to recognize that they are thirsty, or may simply forget to drink water. This can result
in dehydration which can lead to headaches, confusion and other issues like urinary tract infection,
constipation, etc, which can worsen the symptoms of dementia disorders. Therefore, it is important to
ensure that your senior loved one can easily access water whenever needed. It is also a good idea to
keep a pitcher of water neat to their chair or bed.

Another common concern for seniors suffering from dementia disorders is the loss of weight.
Alzheimer’s care experts opine that the following dementia-related challenges and symptoms can
contribute to the loss of weight.
 Difficulty understanding that they are hungry
 Lack of appetite
 Fatigue
 Difficulty in preparing meals
 Reduced coordination
 Difficulty chewing and swallowing food

In some cases, seniors suffering from dementia disorders may simply forget to eat. If your senior loved
one is facing these issues, you may enlist the help of a nutritionist or a dietician. In the case of chewing
and swallowing difficulties, a speech therapist can be helpful. In addition, you need to consult the
pharmacist or doctor of your senior loved one to find out if any of their current medications is leading to
loss of appetite.

Ways To Ensure Adequate Nutrition

There are many ways in which you can ensure that your senior loved one is getting adequate nutrition.
Some of these are:
 Offering different choices for meals
 Buying healthy, whole foods
 Buying easy-to-eat food items that your senior loved one enjoy
 Buying easy-to-prepare meals, like pre-made salads.

In addition, you need to keep meal routines as consistent as possible, such as having breakfast, lunch
and dinner at the same place and time daily. You can also offer cues whenever needed, as a simple
might be all that is needed to remind your senior loved one to continue with their meal.

If your loved one is having difficulty with swallowing or chewing food items, you can offer food items
that are easy to chew and swallow and cut food items into bite-sized pieces. Also, you can serve smaller
meals if your loved one has difficulty having larger meals. If coordination is a challenge for your senior
loved one, you can serve finger foods to let your senior loved one maintain their sense of independence.

Keeping meals simple and distinguishing food items from one another on the plate is another idea to
ensure proper nutrition. If your senior loved one is preparing their food, check the temperature of the
food, as some people suffering from Alzheimer’s and other dementia disorders can have reduced
sensitivity to temperature. Lastly, you can make meal times enjoyable by joining your senior loved one
while having meals or ensuring that a caregiver or another family member is present during meal times.

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