One common aspect of dementia can be a lack of appetite and/or refusal to eat. For caregivers, eating refusal in dementia patients is a big source of frustration and concern. Because it’s not an option to force your loved one to eat – they could inhale food into their lungs or accidentally choke – you’ll want to pursue compassionate, creative solutions.
Any number of factors can cause a lack of appetite for mid to early-stage dementia patients. Among these can be the fact that they don’t recognize signs of hunger, their mood, confusion, and more. For those in severe stage dementia, lost interest in food or lost appetite is the body’s response shutting down to the illness’s progression.
If your loved one refuses to eat as a result of dementia, is there anything you can do?
Dealing with Dementia and Eating Refusals – Advice and Tips
- Caregiver support groups can offer not only emotional support, but some good advice.
- Talk to your loved one’s physician.
- This can be touchy, but you can follow the wishes of your loved one which are outlined in a living will or advanced directive if they stop eating food.
- Your loved one may find drops of pure maple syrup, juice, or honey on their tongue enjoyable. Keep them comfortable with a mouth swab if needed.
- Your loved one’s appetite might be stimulated by light walking or other light exercise.
- Serve easy to eat finger foods and frequent meals and snacks.
- Make sure that unhealthy eating habits aren’t being caused by a dental issue.
- Meals containing liquid – cereal, soup, etc. – can be reasonable alternatives to drinking water for proper hydration.
- Experiment with contrasts and colors (regarding food, plates, tablecloths, etc.).
- Make sure that vision isn’t part of why your loved one isn’t finishing their meal. (Try turning the plate to see if that affects how much more of a meal they eat.)
Patience Is a Virtue
Regardless of how difficult it can be to deal with eating refusal in individuals with dementia, it is absolutely essential that you remember they are not a child. They are an adult. Just because they don’t want to eat doesn’t mean they should be punished. Try something else. Then try again. You might be able to find a solution that lessens your worries and fulfills their hunger.
Our Memory Care Community Is Perfect for Those with Dementia
If your loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, dementia, or some other cognitive related condition, consider helping them make the move to our Memory Care Community. Here, they will receive the care and attention they need, while you experience peace of mind.
Those with dementia, Alzheimer’s, etc. require a very specialized, precise level of care. Our memory care team is knowledgeable and experienced in the area of memory care and all that goes with it. When your loved one resides in our Memory Care Community, they take an important step toward a better way of life for the entire family and, of course, for themselves.
If you have questions about our retirement community, please phone us at 985-781-0072. For questions about sales and leasing, please call 985-218-8144. We also have a convenient online form you can fill out, send in, and we will get back to you.
To experience all we have to offer, schedule a tour today.