Transitioning into a memory care facility can be very difficult for you and your loved ones. The logistical planning, moving belongings, and emotional toll are all things to consider when making the transition.
Watching your loved one drop weight during this time is concerning. There are many reasons why your loved one decides to stop eating. We’ve broken down the five most important ways to kickstart their appetite. Our memory care team has put together a few tips to help you get your appetite going.
Simplify eating and dining with others
At some point, people with dementia may start having issues eating. The difficulty in using utensils can cause this. It’s also possible that finger food may help them eat more frequently. Having a comfortable table can help your parent feel more comfortable around you. An organized table also helps them focus on the food. When you’re at the table, make eye contact and smile while sitting directly in front of your parent. You can then start eating without saying a word. You can also try to be patient and quiet while waiting for them to follow your lead.
Having people around can encourage an individual to eat. It can also help them remember to eat properly. Having meals with others can help them keep track of their food.
Find out your loved one’s favorite foods
This may seem obvious, but the key to kickstarting the appetite is the know what foods your loved one enjoys eating. Although a healthy diet is highly recommended, one way to get them to eat is to couple their favorite food with other nutritious meal portions. Let’s say your loved one enjoys eating ice cream. Introduce ice cream as the main course and include other healthy options as part of the ice cream. Remember to use moderation.
Patience is key
Trying to convince an individual with dementia that they have to eat is counterproductive. Also, attempting to explain away their illness is detrimental to guiding them to eat. The goal is to make sure that the person you are serving has the proper knowledge about how to eat properly. You must act like a good food guide by showing them how to eat properly. This is even more difficult for the caregiver when patience is not at the forefront.
Consult with a doctor
Consultation with your doctor regarding losing appetite can help you rule out an illness. Most importantly, your doctor has the medical history of your loved one and can help you create a plan that best fits their patient. You may get a referral to a dietician which can customize meal plans to encourage best strengthen the appetite.
Remove the tools
One of the most important factors that you should consider when it comes to helping your loved one lose weight is keeping track of the effectiveness of the tips that you’ve used. This can be done by keeping a food journal. This will allow you to keep track of your progress and improve your diet
Keep to a routine and schedule
Keeping to an eating schedule is critical to maintaining the appetite. Pick three times during the day to sit down with your loved ones and have a meal. If you can’t make it down to eat with your loved one, we have a regular eating schedule we provide for our memory care residents.