Dementia patients generally consume far less than they normally do. This can occur for a number of reasons, including loss of smell, taste, memory, and the assumption that they have already eaten. Certain medicines can also have an impact on appetite. As dementia progresses, the desire and ability to eat become affected. So it can be a difficult task to make sure that they eat a nutritious and balanced meal at all times. Read on to learn how memory care communities in Chalmette, LA, can manage eating disorders in dementia patients.
What Should You Do If a Dementia Patient Refuses to Eat?
Forcing dementia patients to eat is not an option because they could choke or inadvertently inhale food into their lungs. When your loved one with dementia refuses to eat, you must come up with inventive, compassionate solutions. Here are some strategies for dealing with eating disorders in dementia patients:
Investigate Colors and Contrasts
If the color of the plate and food are too close, dementia patients can struggle to identify the difference between them. So the plate you serve the food on also matters. Using colorful plates might help them concentrate on the meal, but a white plate on a white tablecloth can have the reverse effect.
Offer Simple Meals
There is a considerable likelihood that eating will become a problem for the dementia patient at some point in their life. It may also become more challenging to use utensils. Consider serving finger foods to encourage them to eat more often. Fruits, veggies, nuts, snacks, and bite-size proteins are some of the easy-to-eat foods you can consider.
Experiment With Food Plating
You may need to experiment with different meal sizes, textures, and tastes to find which one the resident prefers. Here are some ideas to help you switch things up:
- Add different colored veggies to enhance the platter.
- Reduce the number of individual items on the plate.
- Include the types of foods they have always loved. Place it on the plate alongside another food item.
- Cut the meal, mainly the meat, into little pieces.
- Modify the food’s texture—potatoes can be boiled, baked, or mashed, for example.
It may be difficult to start an exercise regimen with a dementia patient, especially if they did not exercise before developing their condition. However, by progressively incorporating safe, simple, and personalized exercise activities into their daily routine, the advantages will gradually grow and accrue, resulting in an overall improvement in their well-being. Some suggested exercises are stationary bikes, on-property walks, basic stretching, gardening, and dancing.
Trying to persuade a dementia patient who is refusing to eat that they must eat is unproductive. Attempting to explain why is also harmful. You should be their food guide. It is your responsibility as the guide to demonstrate how to properly eat as if it were their first time. Maintain strong eye contact and a nice smile, and avoid interrupting them by chatting.
If you need assistance with your loved one’s long-term care, reach out to our memory care community today!