Dementia causes changes in how your senior views her world and how she processes it. What she used to consider a healthy meal might be different now than it was before. The irony is that she needs to eat healthier foods more than ever now that dementia is part of her life.
Meal Planning Gets You Thinking about Nutrition
When you’re just trying to get any food into your senior, you might not be getting the healthiest options into her diet. With a little bit of time to plan and to account for foods and textures that she likes, you might find that you’re able to boost the nutritional value of each meal. You might also want to talk to her diet about whether she should be eating a specific diet.
Your Senior Needs a Little More Time to Eat
Rushing meals, especially when your elderly family member has dementia, can have a pretty disastrous effect on her desire to eat. She needs to have plenty of time to adjust to the idea that it’s time to eat. Then she needs time to actually get started eating. Chewing might take longer, too. All of this adds up and meals might run a little longer than you expect if you’re not prepared.
Calmer Meals Might Mean More Eating
If meals are complicated, noisy, and full of distractions, your senior might not be able to concentrate on eating. Simplify mealtime and make meals a much calmer experience and you might find that your senior is able to eat a little bit more each time. Televisions, loud family members, and even conversation that keeps her talking might all be problems during meals.
Smaller, More Frequent Meals Can Be More Beneficial
Focusing on larger meals can miss a big point. Your senior’s attention span might not be able to tolerate a large meal. Also, if chewing and swallowing are difficult for her, that’s a lot of extra work all at once. Her stomach may feel better when she’s eating smaller meals, too.
Eat with Your Senior
Solitude and nutrition really don’t go that well together. Your elderly family member might feel calmer and happier if you sit down and eat with her. It’s understandable if you’re not able to do that with every meal, though. Homecare providers can help to make meals for your senior, ensure that she eats, and provide company for her all at the same time.
When your elderly family member is getting the nutrients that she needs, it’s going to be easier for her body to keep her as physically healthy as it can. The changes that come from dementia might keep her from making these decisions for herself, but you can give her the extra assistance she needs.