5 Coping Strategies for Mealtime Challenges for Seniors with Dementia

When you serve as a caregiver for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia, you’re no stranger to the struggles that both you and your loved one face. From behavioral and personality changes to changes in abilities and more, it’s a difficult journey. On top of all of these, mealtimes can also present a wide range of challenges. Suzy McCann, Community Relations Director of YourLife™ of Pensacola, a Memory Care community in Pensacola, FL, states that these challenges can, thankfully, be managed. “Mealtimes can be difficult for seniors for a number of reasons,” she states. “They may be losing some of their abilities, be losing a sense of appetite or have a hard time using utensils. These are all common challenges and with proper techniques, you can work around them to make mealtimes easier and possibly even fun again.”

Coping Strategies for Mealtimes When a Loved One Has Dementia

According to an article by the Alzheimer’s Association®, proper nutrition is important for anyone, let alone someone with dementia. As their disease progresses, nutrition may lack and abilities may decrease, making it more important to adapt mealtimes and use an array of coping strategies. Try some of the following coping strategies to help your loved one.

  • Add more spices. Your loved one may be unable to taste the food you’ve prepared. Instead of adding salt, try some different spices and see how they react.
  • Encourage exercise to increase appetite. Go for a walk, garden or even swim. A higher level of activity can make them more apt to eat.
  • Ensure medications aren’t affecting taste. Medications can cause those with dementia to have lessened appetite and may even change their tastes. Talk to their doctor if you notice a change.
  • Allow for plenty of time to eat.Take the time to eat and make it an occasion. Eat with your loved one and talk during the meal.
  • Limit distractions and keep table settings simple. If your loved one’s attention is elsewhere, it may be more difficult for them to want to eat. Instead, use only utensils needed for the meal as a place setting and don’t watch the television while eating.

As your loved one’s dementia progresses, you may find you need to adapt meals. Try cutting food into smaller pieces they can pick up, consider serving multiple meals in courses throughout the day and consider adapting the meals more to their tastes. To learn more about dementia and how it may impact appetite and eating, contact the team at YourLife™ of Pensacola. We would be happy to help you find new ways to encourage your loved one to eat, help them to improve their appetite and support you on your journey. To RSVP to a support group or to get in touch with a member of our team, contact us today!

The Memory Care Your Loved One Deserves.

Offering the very best in Memory Care, YourLife™ of Pensacola was designed specifically with residents in mind. We’ve created a community where residents can define their own lifestyle, based on their preferences, needs and story, all while having the peace of mind of 24-hour support and the freedom to define their own lifestyles. Because we focus solely on Memory Care, all of our resources and attention are on catering to each resident’s needs while providing unequaled peace of mind for families. Our licensed nurses and YourLife™ Personal Care Specialists are on site 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to provide personally inspired care and support, no matter what your needs. With such dedicated care, our residents have the support they need to live as independently and engaged as possible. At YourLife™ of Pensacola, YourStory comes to life. Whether you want to enjoy our exclusive activities and YourStory programming, spend time exploring our services and amenities, relax in our easy-to-navigate Memory Care neighborhoods and living areas or try something new, the choice is entirely up to you. Contact us to learn more!