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Healthy Eating and Alzheimer's Disease

Fruit in a bowl
By Homewatch CareGivers of Naperville

Everyone needs to eat healthy in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle; this is something we all
have probably heard before at some point. It is especially important for people diagnosed with
Alzheimer’s Disease. If you or a loved one are concerned about appetite, our partners at Senior
Living Experts
have some tips for you.


Caregivers for dementia patients at home


Caring for a person with Alzheimer’s Disease (or any other dementias) involves some slightly
different practices. Since the person may forget to eat or may not have a steady appetite, it is
important for the caregiver to make sure they still are living a healthy lifestyle.


● Buy foods from all food groups. Make sure they get their recommended sources of fruits,
vegetables, and whole grains.
● Include quick meals in the refrigerator. Premade salads and sandwiches are a great
option.
● Include some variety in the refrigerator. They may not want a salad, even if it is what
they love the most. Always give choices on what is available to eat. Sometimes people
have a taste for certain foods depending on the time of day.
● Include foods that the person does not need to cook. This is overall the better option for
those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease.


Make sure your loved one, or client you are caring for is eating. It doesn’t hurt to call them to
make sure they remember to eat.


Keep a Routine


Patients diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease most likely prefer routines. This is something that
is familiar and most comfortable for them. You will find that routines leave them feeling more
relaxed.


As a caregiver at home, maintain a mealtime routine for the patient. Make the kitchen space as
comfortable as possible. It may help to dim the lights, turn the television on, or open a window
on a nice day. It is also important to emphasize the socialization aspect of mealtimes. Start up a
conversation with them, or have them share past memories with you while they are eating.


Additionally, older individuals are generally slower at completing tasks, such as finishing a meal.
Be patient with them and allow them enough time to finish their meal. This is important because
it communicates to them that they are in no rush, and can relax and take their time while
finishing their meal.


Maintain a schedule for mealtimes. If the person eats breakfast at 8am, lunch at 12pm, and
dinner at 5pm, make sure those specific times stay the same every day. If family is visiting, or
the patient goes on an outing, try to schedule these events around their regular meal times.


Lastly, serve their meals in the same location. Often, a person may have a preference for which
chair feels comfortable for them in the dining room as well. Keep the environment as
comfortable as you can. If they usually have the news on while they eat dinner, continue that
routine while they eat dinner.


Remember, if a part of their routine is more challenging to complete than it is worth, it is okay to
change it around a little bit. You can change things up while you are trying to find a steady
routine for them, and for you as well.


Monitor their mealtimes if they live alone


As mentioned before, those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s may forget about their meals. Give them
a quick call and ask “how was lunch?” or “did you eat your lunch today?” in the conversation.
This is important to do, as it will make sure they are maintaining a healthy appetite. This can also
help you assess whether living alone is still a safe option for them.


Moreover, check for food that was burned or an oven left turned on. We recommend buying and
preparing food that does not need to be cooked, because of this potential risk.


Lastly, the caregiver should assess their levels of physical activity, ability to chew and swallow,
and mealtime patterns. Then, they should monitor the person’s weight to make sure they are
eating the appropriate amount of food.


Our partners at Senior Living Experts want to make sure that Alzheimer’s patients are placed in
good hands. For more information on Alzheimer’s, you can visit https://www.alzheimers.gov/.
Reach out to us at www.seniorlivingexperts.com or call us at 773-231-7212.

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