Making Mealtime Easier
Adapted from articles from NIA
Many times people with memory loss and confusion have difficulty with eating.
Below are some simple ways to make their mealtime easier:
- Offer meals at regular times - routine helps keep a person with memory loss from becoming agitated or upset.
- Give clear and simple instructions.
- Reduce distractions - no extra items on the table; use solid color plates, placements, etc.
- Prepare ahead of time.
- Provide a calm environment.
- Make eating easy; fill glasses half way, cut food in small pieces, make portions small.
- Try finger foods.
- Serve foods you know the person knows and likes.
- Check for physical discomfort.
- Plan ahead when eating out.
- Serve soft foods.
- Make it tasty. Don't serve foods that are bland or sour tasting.
- Put the power in their hands. If at all possible, let them decide what they would like to eat.
- Write it down; keep a food diary, including any food with which they had problems.
- Work it out; try to get them moving to work up an appetite.
If you notice your loved one or someone you care for has decreased appetite you can:
- Offer high caloric drink foods like ice cream, milkshakes or eggnog.
- Offer familiar foods: foods you know are favorites.
- Make the main meal at lunch when appetite is larger.
- Offer 4 to 6 small meals a day.
If your loved one is having problems swallowing:
- Allow time between bites and check mouth for food in cheek
- You may need to remind person to swallow, gently stroking the throat will help stimulate swallowing
If your loved one is having motivational problems:
- Make meal look appetizing, try adding fruit or vegetable garnishs to the plate.
- Play soft music and light some candles
- Talk about the day's events while they eat