Tips for getting Alzheimer's patient to eat and drink more
Alzheimer's disease is a degenerative brain disorder that robs people of their ability to take care of themselves. It is a progressive disease which creates confusion and lack of movement in muscles. Alzheimer's patients sometimes do not eat, and refuse meals because they do not recognize food. They have lost their sense of taste and smell, and they have difficulties swallowing food.
Begin by identifying the reasons why the person is not eating. Check medications for side effects that may be suppressing the appetite, and then take steps to work around these problems. Meals can be served before certain medications if this will not affect the ability of the medication to work properly. Alzheimer's patients often refuse to eat whenever they are agitated. Monitor the mood of the patient and serve meals whenever the patient is in a calm relaxed mood.
Introduce new foods items into the diet, specifically foods from different cultures. The different textures, the new aromas and taste all contribute to stimulate appetite. This is also true for fruits and vegetables.
Whenever patients are lucid and are able to communicate; talk to them about foods that they use to enjoy, and try to incorporate these into meal plans. Alzheimer's patients are also more inclined to eat foods that are sweet. You can offer fruits and chocolate in small amounts.
For fluids; ice chips can be substituted for water. Offer Popsicles that are made from fruit juice, but remove the stick first as a safety precaution. You can also offer straws, and use lidded cups with spouts so they are able to sip fluids.
Alzheimer's patients eat less whenever they eat alone, so someone should sit with them whenever they eat. In the end stage of the disease; some patients forget how to eat, you will have to demonstrate to them how to use the utensils to put food into their mouths. Serve finger food whenever possible. At times, you will have to feed them your-self. You should cut pieces to about the size of a teaspoon, and put small amounts into their mouth. Wait until food is swallowed to offer more. This will help to avoid choking. Have about three or four things to offer and switch to a different type of food whenever the one you offer is refused.
If you are still not having any success you should switch to a soft diet. Foods such as mashed potatoes, puddings, jello, eggs and cooked cereal work best. Meat should be pureed. Cook soups which include colorful vegetables like carrots, and peas. Seafood is easy to prepare, and easier for them to swallow and chew. Make sure that fish has no bones.
Alzheimer's disease has no cure, and it progresses until the patients needs will have to met in the same ways as that of an infant. Be patient, and take pride in small accomplishments, you will learn that a patient who ate heartily at one meal might only take a few sips of juice at the next.