Dealing With Alzheimer’s Disease: Caregivers Guide

It is very challenging to deal with clients with Alzheimer’s/Dementia, especially in providing a nutritious meal on a regular basis, encouraging independence and more.

Nutritious food is very important to keep the body strong and healthy. Poor nutrition is one of the major challenges, because of their behavior and most commonly weight loss.

Tips for providing the nutritious meal that will help the caregiver and improves dementia’s health condition.

  • Balanced Diet: provide a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low-fat dairy products and lean protein foods.
  • Limit intake of saturated fat & cholesterol: certain fats are good for the health, but there are fats which is not good for our health, such as meat fat, oil, butter or lard etc.
  • Cut down sugar intake: usually, sugar contains calories but no nutrients such as minerals, vitamins, and fiber.
  • Limit intake of salt and high sodium foods: mostly people loved processed foods, Blood pressure is affected if a certain person consumes too much of sodium. Instead, provide an alternative such as herbs or other spices.

When the diseases progress, common effects are as follows:  weight loss and loss of appetite. In some cases, doctors usually suggested providing some supplements to replace the vitamins and mineral loss.

Provide a Proper Meal Time:

Below is the checklist that we need to keep in mind as a healthcare provider or someone who is taking care of a patient with Alzheimer’s disease.

  • Keeping in mind that we need to provide a place without distractions. Wherein clients can eat in a quiet and peaceful environment or while watching TV or listening to a music.
  • As a caregiver/nurse, we need to provide a simple table setting which it will not create any confusion such as only utensils which can be used.
  • Changing in visuals and spatial abilities may make it tough for someone with dementia to distinguish food from a plate on the table.
  • It should not be too hot and too cold for the food temperature since sometimes people with dementia or Alzheimer’s cannot distinguish since it is better to try it first before giving it to them.
  • Simplify by giving one or two option for the food, too many options can be overwhelming for them, some examples can be: soup followed by meat or fillet fish.
  • Let’s keep in mind a patient with Dementia/Alzheimer’s can suddenly develop new preference when it comes to food, they might like the food that they don’t usually eat or sometimes they will reject the food that they like the most.
  • Give them a plenty of time to eat, don’t let them feel that you are in hurry to finish their food. Remind them that they need to chew the food if you saw them not chewing it or swallowing it.
  • Accompany them while eating, so they will not feel alone. Researchers say it is better to eat with people you know than being alone.
  • Forgetfulness is a common thing, they might keep asking for food instead of giving one full meal at a time we can provide small portions, for example, 1st cereals or oats, 2nd toasted bread or milk bread. 

Let’s Encourage them:

In later stages of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia we need to encourage them in a little way, let them become responsible especially during meals.

  • Use the “WATCH ME” Technique by showing them on how to use a certain utensil, like how to hold a spoon and fork
  • Messy and spills in the table can be common but let them feed themselves as much as possible.
  • Give them bite size, finger food which is easy for them to eat such as fries, chicken nuggets, fish sticks, steamed broccoli.

During later stage of Alzheimer’s Disease, swallowing problem can lead to choking and weight loss. We need to be alert at all times. By minimizing food which is hard to chew and swallow, when loss of appetite comes to provide an alternative strategy where our patient will have the appetite to eat. Provide supplements which are prescribed by the doctor.

Let’s learn from each other experiences by providing us your story and if you require assistance Vital Zone is ready to help at all times.

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