Reasons for loss of appetite and weight loss among seniors with Alzheimer’s disease may include changes in appetite, an inability to gauge hunger, difficulty chewing and digesting certain foods, and simply forgetting to eat. By taking steps like the ones below, caregivers in North Houston can overcome many of the challenges associated with feeding seniors with Alzheimer’s.
Keep Serving Sizes Reasonable
Seniors with AD may become overwhelmed or confused if faced with a huge plate of food, even if it’s a balanced mix of healthy offerings. Instead, opt for reasonable serving sizes of nutrient-rich foods. Healthy snacks like fruit, nuts, and yogurt served between meals can also help keep meal portions smaller.
Set a Regular Eating Schedule
People with Alzheimer’s often lose the ability to interpret signals telling them that it’s time to get something to eat. Setting regular eating schedules or associating mealtime with certain activities (like having dinner after a late afternoon walk) can help seniors with AD become accustomed to and stick with a regular dining pattern.
Change How Foods Are Prepared
The ability to properly taste food can change with the onset of Alzheimer’s, so adding more flavor to foods can help encourage eating. Incorporating different colors into meals (as in bright reds, oranges, and greens from veggies) can make meals more visually appealing. Problems with chewing can be addressed by opting for softer foods or cutting up some tougher foods into smaller pieces.
Make Meals a Group Activity
For seniors with AD, making meals a social occasion can encourage regular eating by taking the focus away from the food being served according to home care agencies in North Houston. Consider planning family dinners a few times a week, inviting your loved one’s friends and family over or going to nearby locations like churches or other places that sometimes have community or group meals.
Medication side effects or aftertastes can also cause changes in senior appetites. Chewing sugarless gum or using an oral rinse before meals can help with this problem. Appetite stimulants should only be given to seniors with AD following doctor approval to avoid interactions with other medications.
Meeting your loved one’s care needs can be challenging without the right support system in place. Find the North Houston Alzheimer’s care both you and your loved one could benefit from by reaching out to Home Care Assistance. Our caregivers are trained to handle tasks unique to seniors with memory impairment and utilize our proprietary Cognitive Therapeutics method, which was designed to promote mental acuity and stave off cognitive decline. Please call 832-412-1345 and speak with a Care Manager to learn more.