If you’re the caregiver of an Alzheimer’s patient, read this article from the Fort Myers News-Press by Florida dietitian Elaine Hastings. She explains why maintaining proper nutrition — and even eating, itself — can be a challenge for Alzheimer’s patients and offers some good ideas on overcoming the challenge.
It’s highly likely that you know someone who has or is suffering with Alzheimer’s disease; it’s the most common type of dementia. Four million Americans have the disease; most are over 65. The loss of mental function has a direct bearing on the nutrition of the individual who has the disease.
In early stages of Alzheimer’s, a person may be able to feed himself but cannot eat in a setting that’s not familiar. In this situation, verbal cues are important for reassurance, so that proper nutrition is maintained.
As the disease progresses, however, the issues become more serious. Loved ones may forget how to perform certain functions relevant to eating, such as how to hold silverware, how to chew, when to swallow – all of which can mandate the need for mealtime coaching.