One of the most common complaints with Alzheimer’s patients is that the urge to eat and drink diminishes. Your dad isn’t eating as much as he used to. What can you do to get him to eat more? Hiring an Alzheimer’s care professional is a great option to help maintain his nutrition.
Aim For Softer Items
As the disease progresses, your mom won’t find it as easy to chew and swallow. Softer foods like yogurt, applesauce, and mashed potatoes are ideal. Many medical professionals recommend nutritional shakes when chewing and swallowing are harder to manage. Use a straw to make it easier for him to get the liquid to his mouth.
Choose Finger Foods
Picking up a fork and knife and using them properly is not easy with Alzheimer’s. Fine motor skills vanish, so items have to be large enough to grab in a fist. Finger foods like fish sticks, chicken tenders, sandwich quarters, and burritos are easier to hold.
For breakfast, muffins, boiled eggs, link sausages, and banana slices are good ideas. Fruit smoothies with yogurt, frozen berries, milk, honey, and oat flour can be served in a reusable cup and straw.
Serve Smaller, More Frequent Meals
Offer frequent, small meals. Instead of large meals, give your mom a meal and drink every couple of hours. You want to make sure he’s drinking a lot of water. As you find his favorite foods and beverages, take note and serve those items more often.
When he is drinking every couple of hours, make sure he goes to the bathroom often, too. Alzheimer’s care providers should help him find the bathroom and help him clean up when he’s done. Keeping baby wipes on hand can help with cleanup.
It’s a Tough Decision to Make
There comes a point in Alzheimer’s that the area of the brain that controls thirst and hunger stops functioning. It’s usually at this point that weight loss increases at an alarming rate, and you may find it hard to get your dad to want more than a shake here and there.
You have to decide if the fight is worth it. Are you trying to get him to eat at a point where he’s at risk of choking and developing aspiration pneumonia? Would he want that? If he has an advanced directive, read it over and make sure you’re following his wishes.
Alzheimer’s care provides more than the care your dad needs in the final stages of Alzheimer’s disease. It’s a way to have the emotional support you need. Alzheimer’s disease is hard. It’s hard to watch your dad lose his cognitive skills. It’s hard to handle the temper that flares when he’s frustrated.
Be easy on yourself and take time for yourself when it’s needed. Go for a walk or take a mini vacation. Alzheimer’s care offers that break that is so very important. Call today to make the arrangements.