Tips for Persuading an Older Adult with Alzheimer’s to Eat

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It’s not unusual for Alzheimer’s caregivers to encounter agitation, confusion, and outright refusals to eat during mealtimes. Consequently, their loved ones’ nutritional needs aren’t met, which may further compound health issues for seniors with Alzheimer’s disease (AD). However, caregivers can take steps to make mealtimes less stressful. 


Offer Meal Reminders & Assistance

In the early stages of the disease, seniors with Alzheimer’s may forget to eat or have difficulty remembering meal preparation steps. Caregivers can help by: 

  • Calling before mealtimes to offer reminders 
  • Leaving easy-to-follow preparation directions in the kitchen 
  • Planning family or group meals where assistance can be offered 

A trained Alzheimer’s caregiver can provide expertise and additional support to encourage your loved one to eat. Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same type of home care. Potomac families can rely on Assisting Hands Home Care to provide individualized care plans to meet their elderly loved ones’ unique care needs. Our caregivers help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and we offer mentally stimulating activities that can boost cognitive health and delay the onset of dementia.


Reduce Distractions

Mealtime distractions can make the agitation and confusion often associated with later stages of AD worse. Caregivers can reduce distractions by: 

  • Turning off the TV or radio 
  • Trying not to make or take calls or step away from the table for long periods
  • Removing unnecessary objects from the table 


Be Colorful

Some seniors with AD have difficulty distinguishing the food from the plate or recognizing certain foods. Similarly, if foods don’t look visually appealing, they may fuss about eating those items. Caregivers can address these problems by: 

  • Adding a mix of colorful foods to the plate
  • Using plain white dishes to make it easier to distinguish food from the plate
  • Using plain red dishes to stimulate appetite
  • Placing foods of different colors next to each other


Make Foods Easier to Eat

Dexterity can be an issue as well, so make foods easy to eat by supplying larger utensils or adding finger foods to meals when possible. If chewing is an issue, make sure to cut food into smaller pieces. 

Helping seniors get proper nutrition when they don’t want to eat can be exhausting. If you’re the primary family caregiver for an elderly loved one and need additional assistance providing high-quality homecare services, Assisting Hands Home Care can help. We are a leading home care agency committed to helping seniors live longer and healthier lives.


Make Mealtimes Social

Taking the focus off the food can encourage seniors with Alzheimer’s to join friends and family members in conversation while eating. Being flexible with the length of mealtimes can also relieve stress seniors may feel if they’re being rushed to finish. Consider possible issues, such as chronic conditions or depression, that might also cause increased difficulty eating. Mouth sores and poorly fitting dentures can also be factors that contribute to eating problems for seniors with AD.

Professional caregivers with specialized experience in Alzheimer’s care can be a wonderful source of support for older adults with the disease. Without the right assistance, Alzheimer’s can be challenging for seniors and their families to handle. If you’re looking for professional Alzheimer’s care, Potomac Assisting Hands Home Care provides high-quality care aging adults and their families can count on. All of our caregivers are trained to help seniors with Alzheimer’s live happier and healthier lives, and we also provide specialized dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care. To learn more about our premier in-home care plans, call us today.