Top Tips for Coping with Nutritional Challenges of Alzheimer’s Disease from a Trusted Phoenix Elder Care Company

Phoenix Elder CareIf you’re providing care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease, you’re likely to encounter some very noticeable and highly demanding behaviors. Sundowning, emotional outbursts, and wandering, for example, all require caregivers to jump into immediate action.

One issue that can take second stage, but should be addressed with just as much urgency, is nutritional challenges. Extremely common for seniors with dementia, nutritional challenges that are overlooked can cause additional, sometimes serious, health issues. The professional Phoenix elder care team at Nightingale Homecare provides a full range of specialized Alzheimer’s and dementia care, including assistance with eating. We’ve broken down the top concerns for you, and how to overcome them.

  1. No Appetite. Although it’s true that the elderly in general have a reduced caloric requirement, those with Alzheimer’s disease may also lack interest in food due to sensory and motor skill issues, memory loss, and confusion.
    • How to Help:
      • Allow the senior to assist in some way with preparing the meal, according to his or her abilities.
      • Turn on some quiet background music.
      • Set the table with flowers, a favorite knick-knack, or small picture.
      • Serve smaller portions, one dish at a time.
  2. Unhealthy Eating. Some Alzheimer’s patients will want to eat only sweets, or may overindulge in other less than healthy food choices.
    • How to Help:
      • Try substitutes for favored unhealthy food choices, such as non-sweet cereal, chunks of bright-colored melon or berries, or sugar-free treats.
      • Cover packaging for less healthy foods, such as wrapping cookie packages in plain paper, or place those food items out of sight and reach.
      • Offer plenty of healthy snacks throughout the day, such as carrot sticks or applesauce.
  3. Mealtime Messes. Problems with chewing and swallowing, or with managing utensils, can result in more food spilled than going into the person with Alzheimer’s.
    • How to Help:
      • Utilize strong plastic dinnerware, a plastic tablecloth and placemat, in contrasting colors.
      • Purchase specialized eating utensils that are modified for those with eating difficulties.
      • Try plates with divided sections and raised edges to keep food from being pushed off onto the table or floor.
      • Place small suction cups beneath the plate to secure it in place.

For more tips on improving mealtimes for those with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, call on the Phoenix elder care experts at Nightingale Homecare. Our team is comprised of professionally trained Alzheimer’s Whisperers® in our Connections dementia care program, uniquely trained using Dr. Verna Benner-Carson’s nationally acclaimed approach to gentle, compassionate dementia care. We’re here to help make life easier, safer, and more fulfilling for those with Alzheimer’s disease and those who care for them. Contact us at 602-504-1555 to learn more and begin to experience success in living with dementia!