If you are a caregiver for a loved one who suffers from dementia or has a loved one currently residing in a memory care assisted living facility, you are likely accustomed to the challenges that mealtime can pose. Many Alzheimer’s patients have trouble nourishing themselves throughout the day, or they may not intake enough of the vitamins and minerals they need to lead healthy and fulfilling lives. Celebrate this National Nutrition Month by utilizing our dining service’s top nutrition tips for dementia patients, dedicated to improving the health and happiness of your loved one!
Dietary Tips for Caregivers of Dementia Patients
- Incorporate a diverse range of healthy ingredients into your loved one’s diet to maximize nutritional value. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks should consist of lean proteins, hearty whole grains, and a broad range of fruits and vegetables.
- Minimize foods that are high in saturated fat and cholesterol, as they tend to hold little nutritional value.
- Try to limit refined sugar, but know that it can sometimes be helpful to encourage eating for someone who has lost his or her appetite. The trick is to maintain a healthy balance.
- Encourage proper hydration by offering small cups of water throughout the day. Try to avoid sodas and other processed drinks. If plain water isn’t quite appealing, trying adding a few slices of strawberry for a touch of natural sweetness.
- Minimize distractions by keeping the table setting as simple as possible, allowing your loved one to focus more on eating and less on complex centerpieces.
- Keep meals simple. Too many options or items at once can be overwhelming, so it may be best to stick to serving one portion of the meal at a time.
- Because it is normal for dementia patients to change their appetite and preferences frequently, do your best to accommodate food preferences without pressuring your loved one.
- Check the temperature of food before serving it. Someone with dementia may not be able to recognize that food is too hot to eat, which can result in burns.
- In the early stages of dementia, it can be especially therapeutic to maintain a sense of independence. You can help your loved one feel independent by encouraging them to help you prepare simple, nutritious meals.
- Prepare foods that are easy to chew and swallow, particularly throughout the later stages of Alzheimer’s, when the risk of choking tends to increase. Be sure to cut foods into bite-sized pieces or prepare soft foods that pose little to no risk.
Nutritious Assisted Living Dining Services
At Spring Hills, we are leaders in memory care and our Alzheimer’s care facilities for seniors are always able to accommodate to specific dietary needs. Each day, our dining services provide varied meals to ensure diverse nutrition, and our staff members are trained in nutrition therapy to combat any eating issues your loved one may face. When it comes to nutrition for dementia patients and Alzheimer’s patients, we practice patience and care to ensure that your loved one is getting enough of the best foods possible for balanced nutrition.