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Someone with Alzheimer’s can experience changes in their moods and behaviors that can affect their ability to eat and drink. They may wander, be easily distracted or apathetic toward meals and eating. Make sure you allow plenty of time for each meal and have your meals at the same time, in the same place, each day.
Instead of preparing three big meals each day, serve smaller meals more often.
Serve food on plain white plates and bowls. Put out only the necessary utensils and try a straw for drinking. Eat in a quiet area without a lot of distractions.
Avoid confusing or stressing your loved one with too many choices by placing only one food on the plate at a time or serve one-dish meals.
If your loved one is having difficulty using utensils, consider serving food in bowls so it’s easier to handle. Serve finger foods or simply cut up whatever you’re serving into easily manipulated pieces. Put any condiments on food prior to serving it. If your loved one is having trouble chewing or swallowing, serve soft foods.
If you’re having soup, serve it in a mug and make sure it’s not too hot. In fact, never serve food or beverages that are too hot to safely eat or drink.
Proper nutrition and hydration are essential to your loved one’s wellbeing. If health begins to decline due to inability or unwillingness to eat or drink, consider professional intervention. Dedicated Memory Care residences, such as Inn on the Pond in Pinellas County, offers programs specifically for those with Alzheimer’s and dementia. In fact, Inn on the Pond’s Memory Care Program, Inspirations, is lead by a Clinical Director who is supported by a Wellness Director and Registered Nurse. These professionals are specially trained in helping residents lead healthy lifestyles, supported by nutrition, exercise, activity and friendship.