Mealtimes for a senior with Alzheimer’s disease can be difficult. Your parent might be struggling with symptoms that make it so that they do not want to eat or that they have difficulty eating, and you may worry that they are not safe when eating or that they are not getting enough nutrition. By taking the time to focus on mealtimes as an important feature of your caregiver day with them, you can manage these challenges and support better health and well-being for your loved one.
Some things that you can do to simplify mealtime for your senior with Alzheimer’s disease include:
- Create a schedule. Routine and predictability are very important for elderly adults with Alzheimer’s disease.Particularly if your parent does not remember why they need to eat or confuses how long it has been since they last ate, a schedule helps them to stay focused, feel in control, and eat regularly.
- Relax your expectations. Keep in mind that your parent might not always remember when they last ate and they might cling to memories of eating particular meals. This can cause them to repeatedly request the same meal throughout certain times of day. If this is the case, be flexible and willing to break the meal as a whole down into smaller pieces so that you can serve them the meal each time that they ask for it. For example, rather than serving an entire dinner at the same time, serve a small amount of soup, then a vegetable, then a meat, then another side, each time that your parent requests the meal.
- Eat together. Eating should be a social occasion. This is not only an opportunity for you to model how to eat and encourage your parent to eat proper foods, but gives you the chance to socialize them them, stimulating their mind and boosting their mental and emotional health.
If you have been looking for ways to enhance your parent’s life, improve their care, and support their highest quality of life possible as they age in place, now may be the ideal time for you to consider starting elder care for them. An elderly home care services provider can be there with your parent to ensure that they always have access to the level of care, support, and assistance that is right for them to help them manage their individual needs and challenges, seek as much activity and independence as possible, and life a fulfilling lifestyle as they age in place. These highly personalized services can include safe and reliable transportation, assistance with keeping their home clean and healthy, assistance with personal care tasks such as bathing, grooming, and toileting, medication reminders to keep them compliant, and help with needs such as meal preparation. As a family caregiver, knowing that your parent is getting these services can give you peace of mind and ease your stress, allowing you to take a step back and focus more time and energy on other needs in your life, such as your children, your marriage, your career, and yourself.
If you or an aging loved one are considering elder care in Plainsboro, NJ, please call the caring staff at Care Street Home Care. You can reach our Mercer/Burlington Division at (609) 496-5666.
Dr. Shelly, as he is fondly known, has served as an Alzheimer’s Support Group Facilitator in Mercer County and is a Certified Dementia Instructor. Knowledgeable, compassionate, and unusually devoted, his guidance is crucial in helping families understand their options and render decisions for their loved ones’ care plan. Dr. Shelly’s extensive experience, sincere and pleasant demeanor, and professional affiliations have made him a vital asset to Care Street.
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