Although we are all working hard to maintain healthy lifestyles with proper diets, nutrition is especially important for people with dementia. In the later stages of the illness, individuals begin to lose control of their own movements, including their ability to chew and swallow, and frequently forget the importance of regular nutritious meals.
That’s why it’s so vital to make meals as easy and healthy as possible. Here’s how:
Finding the Right Foods
First and foremost, you want to choose specific foods that are easy for your loved one to enjoy.
● Offer Soft Options: Because they may have more difficulty eating, it’s essential to opt for items that require less chewing and are easy to swallow. Consider preparing foods that can be cut into small pieces or choosing soft options, like apple sauce or scrambled eggs.
● Supplement with Smoothies: Nutrition drinks can be used to supplement an individual’s diet if they are struggling to eat enough during their meals since they frequently contain many vitamins and minerals that are essential to your loved one’s health. It should be noted that they should not replace meals though, but rather should be an added boost to their regular meal.
● Find More Finger Foods: If your loved one is struggling with mobility or coordination, using utensils can be a recipe for disaster. Instead, consider offering options that are easy to eat with their fingers, like orange slices, potato wedges, or hard-boiled eggs.
Making Mealtimes Easy
Now that you’ve found options that are more manageable for your loved one, it’s time to consider how you can make mealtimes easier for them.
● Allot Tons of Time: No matter how soft or bite-sized you’ve made your meals, if an individual has trouble eating, it will take them plenty of time to finish a feast. Be patient and allow them all the time necessary to enjoy the experience.
● Do Away with Distractions: Individuals with dementia are easily distracted, making it very difficult to motivate them to eat an entire meal. Eliminate distractions, like the television, a busy street, and even casual conversation, to help them focus on a single task at hand.
● Slim Down Selections: Although variety may be the spice of life for most, it can be very detrimental for people living with dementia. Too many options can be overwhelming, so consider offering them one or two options at a time.
At Dementia Caring, we take special pride in offering nothing but the best support for the individuals in our care. For more information on the services we provide, call us at 1300 792 691 or reach out to us online!