Dementia and Alzheimer’s can affect a senior’s appetite and attention span, meaning they aren’t getting proper nourishment. Here are a few ideas to keep their focus on meals so they can get the nutrients they need.

Make Meals Visually Appealing

This is a balancing act because you want to create an interesting place setting without being too distracting. Use solid color plates and mats that make the food stand out. Avoid patterned serve ware to decrease distraction.

Add color to the food as well. A side of green vegetables, pureed berries on ice cream or yogurt, or butternut squash are good foods to create a colorful, balanced diet. Smoothies also add nutritious variety to ensure your loved one eats fruits and vegetables.

Keep Food Bite-Sized

People with dementia and Alzheimer’s may struggle with utensils, so don’t shy away from finger food. Serving meals item by item in bite-sized portions will help those with reduced appetites complete their meals. Finger food also allows seniors to focus on what they’re eating and retain some independence as they feed themselves.

Enjoy Meals Together

Eating together is an excellent way to socialize and monitor what your loved one is eating. Seeing someone else eating may boost their appetite and put them at ease with someone they trust. The interaction also makes meals feel less like a task.

Include personal touches like their favorite foods, minimal decorations, or soft music. Get festive with meals during holidays to add variety and keep their attention.

Avoid Distractions

Dementia can affect a person’s focus, drawing them away from eating their meal. Loud background music, televisions, conversations, and crowded rooms can distract seniors from eating.

Be patient because your loved one will require more time to eat or may not want the foods they once enjoyed. People with dementia and Alzheimer’s may not remember what meals they’ve eaten. If they want breakfast at dinner, that may be the best way to get them to eat.

Embassy Healthcare will ensure your loved ones receive nutritious meals. Call 888-975-1379 or contact us online to learn more about our dietary & nutrition care.