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Shot of a young nurse checking up on a senior woman during breakfast at a nursing home

For people with dementia, mealtime can be especially challenging. In order to provide consistent senior care, home caregivers need to be especially sensitive to the way dementia affects a person's appetite, behavior, and basic ability to eat and feed themselves.

Eating is an important part of life. It provides people with joy and socialization on top of health and wellness benefits. With a little flexibility and patience, live-in home care aids and family members can help guide their client or loved one through the difficulties of mealtime while keeping them happy, healthy, and well-fed.

Allow a Proper Amount of Time

People with dementia require additional time in order to process information. They have to be given ample time to engage in eating and self-feeding tasks as well as time to chew, especially if they have poor dentition. It is important for home care providers to understand that meal time is not a race. Let your loved one or client dictate the pace of the meal.

Differentiate the food from the plate

Dementia can cause visual disturbance for people that suffer from it. These visual disturbances can include an inability to see color, judge depth, and interpret information. That's why it's important to make sure materials and assistive devices provide high contrast from the surrounding environment when engaging in key activities of daily living. This is especially important for plates and silverware.

Serve One to Two Items at a Time

When serving meals to those dealing with cognitive impairment such as dementia be sure not to present multiple choices at once. Caregivers should be careful not to put the person in a state of sensory overload. Offer no more than two items at any one time and structure the meal as if you're providing courses or additions to the entrée.

Be Sensitive to Medications and Exercise

For those providing around-the-clock care and senior companionship, it is essential to have an awareness of a person's level of activity throughout the day as well as any medications that they are on. Both these factors can greatly influence the person with dementia's appetite. Arming yourself with this important information can help you prepare meals and structure mealtime to better serve your client.

Compassionate, Consistent Care

Loved ones who are suffering from a dementia diagnosis require a special touch. Sometimes even the smallest activities of daily living can be a struggle to get through. It takes a healthy amount of compassion and patience to provide consistent senior care, especially during mealtime for people with dementia. Senior Helpers specially trained in-home caregivers can help your loved one gracefully age in place. Contact us today to learn more about our Senior GEMS dementia care service.