Dementia symptoms aren’t limited to cognitive decline and changes in mood. This condition can also affect the way a senior eats. If your elderly loved one has dementia and his or her eating habits have taken an unhealthy turn, it’s important to figure out how to remedy the situation. The staff at Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of in-home care Las Vegas families trust, offers 4 tips to help you address this symptom and encourage your loved one to eat healthier.
1. Use Bold Flavors
Seniors with dementia sometimes lose their sense of taste, which can make eating less enjoyable. However, cooking food that smells delicious may help stimulate your loved one’s appetite. Choose herbs and other additions that enhance the scent and flavor of the food to encourage healthy eating habits. Dill, thyme, garlic, onion, celery, and sweet peppers all add strong scents and flavor to many savory dishes.
2. Serve Small Meals
If your loved one has dementia, you may have noticed he or she has a decreased appetite and only eats small amounts during meals. Serving small, frequent meals is one way to help your loved one continue to eat well. Another option is to provide your loved one with a plate of food to snack on throughout the day. For instance, almonds, cubes of cheddar cheese, and sliced fresh vegetables with hummus are healthy options your loved one can enjoy at his or her own pace. Allow your loved one to graze or slowly eat the food over the course of several hours to promote adequate food intake each day.
3. Avoid Serving Sweets
Sweet foods are popular with seniors who have dementia because the flavor is often intense. To combat overeating, avoid buying sweet foods except for special occasions. Purchasing sweets in portion-sized servings is a simple way to provide your loved one with food he or she likes while ensuring he or she doesn’t overeat.
4. Seek Help
Talk to your loved one’s doctor if your suspect dementia is causing your loved one to have trouble eating healthy. The doctor or a nutritionist can help you find nutritious foods to serve if your loved one has trouble chewing or swallowing or if he or she has a significantly decreased appetite. You may also want to hire an hourly caregiver in Las Vegas to help prepare meals and encourage healthy eating habits.
For more information on dementia care Las Vegas seniors can rely on, reach out to Home Care Assistance. All of our caregivers are trained in the revolutionary Cognitive Therapeutics Method, an activities-based program that helps slow cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia. To learn more about this and our other senior care services, call one of our experienced Care Managers at (702) 550-3185 to schedule a free consultation.