If you’ve ever cared for someone with Alzheimer’s disease in either your personal or professional life, you know just how much more difficult every single aspect of their day becomes. Mealtime is one area in which you’ll need to make some efforts to address the person’s needs and take some extra considerations into account.
Here’s some information from a provider of senior home care in San Jose, CA about some things you should keep in mind for mealtimes when caring for a person with Alzheimer’s disease.
Purchasing and preparing meals
If you have a person with Alzheimer’s living with you, you will be carefully assisting with and monitoring their eating habits and meals. Make sure you buy healthy foods as much as possible, including fruits, vegetables and whole-grain products rather than processed foods. Any foods you purchase should fit within any diets the person is on. And of course, try to stick to foods the person likes, as well.
It can be helpful to provide the person with choices about what they’ll eat by presenting them with the options in front of them. It is important to be patient with the person and to clearly present the options for them instead of leaving it open ended. This helps them maintain a level of control over what they’re eating and enjoy their mealtimes more, but also prevents them from getting frustrated about making difficult decisions.
Make sure you purchase food that is relatively easy to prepare. If you’re caring for someone with Alzheimer’s, they’re going to take a lot of energy from you, especially in the early going, so you’re probably not going to want to spend too much time preparing and cooking food.
Keep the same routines
People suffering from Alzheimer’s have problems with change, so it’s important to maintain familiar mealtime routines and serve foods they know and like. Keep serving meals at the same times they usually eat, and make sure you respect all of their cultural, personal or religious food preferences. Serve the meals in a familiar, consistent place, and avoid establishing new routines. All of this will help keep that person relaxed. Be patient and give the person enough time to completely finish their meal—it might take them a little longer than usual, but you should let them enjoy the time.
It can help if you make mealtimes an opportunity for positive social interaction. This will keep them more relaxed.
Make safety a priority
When people are still in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, their eating habits will likely not change all that much. But if you do notice their habits starting to change, it might no longer be safe for them to cook or even live alone. Signs you’ll want to keep an eye out for include a failure to turn off the oven or stove, food burning because it was left on the stove for too long or the person forgetting to eat entirely (and frequently).
For more information about steps you can take to make mealtime easier for people with Alzheimer’s, contact our senior care consultants today!
Categorised in: Senior Home Care