For both the person with Alzheimer’s and their caregiver, mealtimes can present unique challenges. The patient will feel more at ease and prepared for what to anticipate if daily routines are kept and comfort foods are served. If you are caring for an aging loved one with dementia and looking for alternative senior housing options, find out how memory care in Bexar County, TX helps ease your loved one’s mealtimes.
Causes of Poor Nutrition
Numerous factors may contribute to a lack of hunger, a lack of appetite, bad eating habits, or aversion to food.
- Memory loss or dementia can cause a person to lose their appetite and thirst.
- Challenges with timing and/or juggling multiple tasks at once translates to difficulty in the kitchen which could be a sign of trouble with planning, following directions, or juggling various chores.
- Alterations in the senses like smell or taste could make you lose interest in eating.
- It may be challenging to consume enough food at mealtimes if agitation and associated behavioral abnormalities are present.
- Because of discomfort caused by loose dentures, irritated gums, or other dental issues, some people postpone eating and drinking.
- Insufficient hunger is a side effect of some drugs.
- Loss of appetite is one of the side effects of not exercising enough.
- When physical coordination shifts, it might be challenging to use common kitchen tools.
- A loss of appetite and loss of interest in eating are both symptoms of depression.
- Constipation, which can result from a lack of dietary fiber, water, and exercise, might cause an individual to lose their appetite.
- Weakness in the areas of chewing and swallowing in people with dementia often cause them to have trouble during mealtimes, especially as the disease progresses.
How Memory Care in Bexar County, TX Helps Ease Mealtimes
There are a variety of ways that memory care communities ensure that their residents have a positive dining experience and get enough to eat.
- Routine – They maintain a consistent eating schedule. Instead of three large meals, they provide six to eight smaller ones spaced out throughout the day if that’s more manageable.
- Hydration – To ensure residents stay well hydrated, they are served water in tiny glasses throughout the day. Fruit, soups, milkshakes, and smoothies are all high-water-content alternatives.
- Relaxing atmosphere – The TV and radio are turned off during mealtimes. It is also best when the table is cleared of any extraneous items. Cell phones are not encouraged in the dining hall.
- Cutlery and tableware – Memory care makes meal preparations less complicated by using white plates instead of patterned ones, spoons instead of forks, bowls instead of plates, or even encourage residents to use their fingers. Drinks are served in cups with lids or bendable straws.
- Plates of food – The food is cut into little pieces or made into finger snacks before serving. Serving multiple courses at once can be confusing and stressful for residents.
- Multiple options for meals – Memory care prepares usual and requested dishes while providing ample intake of healthy meals including vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.
- Advocacy and example setting – Residents are shown how to properly hold a spoon, when to sip from a glass, or how long they should chew their food after taking a bite to aid in the more fundamental aspects of eating. Team members hold their hand gently and show them how to use the utensils.