Alzheimer's Disease Patient Caregiver Guide - Eating

Getting an Alzheimer's patient to eat can be difficult. Please share tips for meal ideas and routines.

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Eating: Getting a Person with Alzheimer's Disease to Eat

Eating can be a challenge. Some people with Alzheimer's disease want to eat all the time, while others have to be encouraged to maintain a good diet.

  • View mealtimes as opportunities for social interaction and success for the person with Alzheimer's. Try to be patient and avoid rushing, and be sensitive to confusion and anxiety.
  • Aim for a quiet, calm, reassuring mealtime atmosphere by limiting noise and other distractions.
  • Maintain familiar mealtime routines, but adapt to the person's changing needs.
  • Give the person food choices, but limit the number of choices. Try to offer appealing foods that have familiar flavors, varied textures, and different colors.
  • Serve small portions or several small meals throughout the day. Make healthy snacks, finger foods, and shakes available. In the earlier stages of dementia, be aware of the possibility of overeating.
  • Choose dishes and eating tools that promote independence. If the person has trouble using utensils, use a bowl instead of a plate, or offer utensils with large or built-up handles. Use straws or cups with lids to make drinking easier.
  • Encourage the person to drink plenty of fluids throughout the day to avoid dehydration.
  • As the disease progresses, be aware of the increased risk of choking because of chewing and swallowing problems.
  • Maintain routine dental checkups and daily oral health care to keep the mouth and teeth healthy.
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