Alzheimer’s patients frequently experience unnaturally rapid weight loss as the disease advances. According to studies, up to 40% of persons with advanced Alzheimer’s lose too much weight. Caregivers should make it a priority to learn more about the causes of this kind of weight loss and the ways to work around them.
What you need to know to aid your loved one, from vision changes that make it hard to discern food on the plate to lack of dexterity that impedes hand-eye coordination. Find out how Wellington, AL memory care can help.
Weight Loss in Alzheimer’s Residents
Poor manual dexterity is a major contributor to thinning skin. Since this occurs, it becomes difficult to use cutlery. In extreme cases, it can lead the elderly person to give up altogether out of frustration.
Alterations in the way one sees are another possible reason. It is hard to see what is on your plate when you have trouble with depth perception and color vision. Alzheimer’s patients can easily devour chicken tenders, but things can be different if food is served on a plate of a similar color.
Adults with Alzheimer’s disease face additional difficulties that contribute to their weight loss, such as:
- A change in taste preferences or a loss of appetite.
- Tough time swallowing or recurrent choking.
- Dentures that do not fit properly might make eating a chore.
Finally, the eating atmosphere can have an impact on mealtime for persons with dementia. Particularly annoying to them is noise. Alzheimer’s disease can impair one’s ability to focus, making it difficult to eat. Anxiety and irritability are also exacerbated by a chaotic or overcrowded dining area. Both can cause one to lose interest in food and instead pace and roam.
How Healthy Dining Programs in Wellington, AL Memory Care Can Help
Some ways memory care promotes healthy eating habits in residents with Alzheimer’s are as follows:
- The resident will be encouraged to eat more if the dining area is clean, quiet, and uncluttered. Team members will empty the table of all items except the dinnerware. They play quiet music in the background so residents can feel at ease.
- Foods that do not need utensils, or “finger foods,” are a great way to get residents to eat healthy without making them work too hard to use their hands and fingers together. Chicken nuggets, fruit smoothies, sandwich wraps, fresh vegetables, and chicken quesadillas are a few options offered.
- Team members make use of complementary colors for residents’ plates and placemats. Dishes and plates of varying colors let them quickly identify their meals. The color red has proven effective in stimulating appetite.
- Team members will help residents experiencing trouble using silverware by providing assistance. It is also possible to pick up food from a plate with the help of a plate protector or a food bumper.
- Alzheimer’s disease has been linked to a loss of taste, thus enhancing bland foods with more complex flavors can help residents regain their appetite.
Finally, ensuring a healthy meal can help residents feel better in the morning. For residents with trouble sitting for lengthy periods, team members will try spreading out their day’s meals into numerous smaller meals and snacks rather than a few large ones.