Food and eating can suddenly become complicated if your aging family member is in the later stages of Alzheimer’s disease. Some of the aspects of eating could be very similar to the earlier stages, but your senior may need much more help than she did in the past.
She’ll Gradually Need Less Food
As your aging family member becomes less and less active, her body will naturally need less food in order to keep her going. Although this is normal, it can be disconcerting for you. Talk with her doctor when you notice changes in her eating habits.
Her Diet May Change
Some people in late stage Alzheimer’s disease have difficulty chewing or swallowing. For some, it’s a problem of not remembering that they need to chew and swallow. For other aging adults, it can be a combination of other problems that make the eating process difficult. Softer foods or more of a liquid diet can help with this.
Self-feeding May Still Be Possible
Many caregivers assume that their elderly family member always needs to be fed. This isn’t necessarily true. Your elderly family member could retain the ability to feed herself for quite some time, but she might forget that she knows how. Using prompts and modeling the behavior can help your elderly family member to feed herself.
Include Fluids as Much as Possible
Dehydration is a scary prospect and can cause big health problems for your aging family member. Keep a bottle of water handy for her and encourage her to sip as often as possible. Another way you can make fluids available is to include foods that are high in liquid content. Flavored gelatin or soup are excellent ways to do this.
Work with Her Doctor to Assess Her Diet
Your elderly family member’s doctor may recommend having her weight periodically at his office to help you monitor how well she’s doing. As your elderly family member’s weight changes, he can recommend different ways to adjust how and what she’s eating to help her maintain instead of lose weight.
Don’t feel bad about seeking extra help managing your elderly family member’s eating habits. This can be a full-time job for even the most efficient caregiver. Hiring elder care providers to help with personal tasks such as feeding can free you up for other tasks.
When you are in need of care for a senior loved one, consider caregivers provided by Golden Heart Senior Care. We have offices nationwide. For more information, call us today at (800) 601-2792.