One of the biggest challenges in caring for someone with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia is meal time. If you’ve ever watched your loved one eat, you know that it can be hard to tell if they’re enjoying their food or not. If someone has trouble speaking, speaking up about what they like might be impossible. They may also lose their sense of time and become confused about what year it is or how old they are. But many people can still enjoy eating meals together with their loved ones. Memory care in Gulfport, MS, provide an environment where residents can feel comfortable as they cope with this disease. Here are some tips for dining with someone who has dementia:
Taste Test It First
Most people with dementia can’t remember what they ate the day before, let alone how it tasted. It’s hard enough for you to keep track of this when you’re eating out, so imagine what it’s like for someone who isn’t able to remember what they had for breakfast or if they’ve eaten at all this week.
That’s why taste-testing your meal before serving it is a great way to check if the food is okay. If you try it and find that something tastes off, then there are ways around that:
- You can add spices or extra salt to make up for blandness;
- You can serve one thing at a time so that the person doesn’t get overwhelmed by all of the flavors on their plate; or
- Ask them if they would like more water or drink options available at their seat so they don’t feel rushed while trying new dishes (or thirsty!).
Place The Food On A Plate
Placing the food on a plate is another helpful strategy for dementia patients. Placing the food on a plate helps them to remember that they have already eaten and can help prevent overeating. It also makes it easier for them to remember what they are eating, which will help you gauge their nutritional needs more effectively.
Focus On Fruit And Vegetables
Fruit and vegetables are a great way to get essential nutrients. Fruit and vegetables are good sources of vitamins and minerals, which help boost your immune system and reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer. They also contain fiber that helps keep you feeling full longer, so you don’t overeat at mealtime.
- Take small bites when eating veggies because they’re usually crunchy or chewy (like carrots), which may be difficult for people with dementia to manage in large pieces. If necessary, cut up large pieces before serving soup or salad.
- Serve them plain without dipping sauces for easier consumption by individuals with swallowing difficulties and those who tend to reject anything new or unfamiliar on their plates.
- Fruit should not be served with cream sauces (or any other sauce) because they can cause choking hazards if they get stuck in someone’s throat while being swallowed down into their stomach.
- Fruit can be served with light syrup toppings such as honey instead of heavy syrups such as maple syrup because it’s easier for those who have difficulty chewing food items like toast, etcetera; this will also add flavor while giving them something sweet instead of bland tasting foods which could further aggravate someone’s mood swings due lack interest towards nutritional value rather than taste value alone!
Lead By Example
When you’re dining at the memory care community, you’ll probably see others sitting with their loved ones who are suffering from dementia. You may even see caregivers or staff members eating with them as well. This can be an excellent opportunity to start setting an example for other families and show that eating together is okay as a family unit. Even if your loved one doesn’t remember what’s going on, they’ll still know that you’re there and will feel more comfortable eating with you in the future if they know that other people do the same thing.
As you can see, dementia is an incredibly complex disease. At SummerHouse Bay Cove, we have the experience and expertise to assist your loved one with this condition. We specialize in providing care for those who suffer from Alzheimer’s and other types of memory loss. If you have any questions about our services, please don’t hesitate to contact us today!